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Our evening "Talks" at the Theosophical Headquar- 
ters at Adyar have become quite an institution, and a 
very considerable amount of information, due to new- 
research, often arising from some question put by a 
student, is given in this friendly and intimate circle. 
Our good Vice-President, Sir S. Subramania Iyer, 
found so much help and illumination from these talks, 
that he earnestly wished to share his pleasure with his 
brethren in the outer world, and gave a sum of money 
to help in their publication. I cordially endorse his 
view of their value, and commend this volume and 
those which will follow it to the earnest study of all 
our members. A second series is ready for the press, 
but the date of its issue will depend partly on the re- 
ception given to the present. 



I wish that I could help my American readers to 
realise the conditions under which this book has been 
produced. The Theosophical Society as a whole does 
not by any means sufficiently understand or appreciate 
the work done at its Headquarters, and although for 
you in America it is away on the other side of the earth, 
I should like to help you to see it as it is. Readers of 
the "Messenger" must at least have some general idea 
of the appearance of the place, and must know some- 
thing of the life which is lived here — a long life, a 
strenuous life, and a life lived under very peculiar con- 
ditions. Nowhere else in the world at this present mo- 
ment is there such a centre of influence — a centre con- 
stantly visited by the Great Ones, and therefore bathed 
in their wonderful magnetism. The vibrations here 
are marvellously stimulating, and all of us who live 
here are therefore under a constant strain of a very 
peculiar kind, a strain which brings out whatever is 
in us. Strong vibrations from other planes are play- 
ing all the while upon our various vehicles, and those 
parts of us which can in any sense respond to them 
are thereby raised, strengthened and purified. But it 
must be remembered that there is another side to this. 
There may well be in each of us some vibrations the 
character of which is too far removed from the level 
of these great influences to fall into harmony with 
them, and where that is the case intensification will 
still take place, but the result may well be evil rather 
than good. To live at Adyar is the most glorious of 


all opportunities for those who are able to take advan- 
tage of it, but its effect on those who are constitution- 
ally unable to harmonize with its vibrations may be 
dangerous rather than helpful. If a student can bear 
it he may advance rapidly; if he cannot bear it he 
is better away. 

The workers here live mostly in the great central 
building, within the immediate aura of the shrine room 
and the President. The students live chiefly half-a- 
mile away at various other houses, though all within 
the large estate which now belongs to the Society. 
Each during the day does his own work in his own 
way, but in the evening we all gather together upon 
the roof of the central building, in front of the Presi- 
dent's rooms, formerly occupied by Madame Blavatsky 
herself, and there, under the marvellous night sky of 
India, so infinitely more brilliant than anything that 
we know in what are miscalled temperate climes, we 
sit and listen to her teaching. All through the sum- 
mer of last year, so much of which she spent in a tour 
through the United States, it fell to my lot to take 
charge of the meetings of the students here. In the 
course of that time I delivered many informal little 
addresses and answered hundreds of questions. All 
that I said was taken down in shorthand, and this book 
is the result of those notes. In a number of cases it 
happened that what was said on the roof at the meet- 
ings was afterwards expanded into a little article for 
The Theosophist or The Adyar Bulletin; in all such 
cases I reprint the article instead of the stenographic 
report, as it has had the advantage of certain correc- 
tions and additions. Necessarily a book of this sort 
is fragmentary in its nature; necessarily also it con- 
tains a certain amount of repetition ; though this latter 
has been excised wherever possible. Many of the sub- 


jects treated have also been dealt with in my earlier 
books, but what is written here represents in all cases 
the result of the latest discoveries in connection with 
those subjects. The subjects have been classified as 
far as possible, and this volume represents the first 
series, containing five sections. The second volume, 
containing the nine remaining sections, is now in the 
printer's hands. A list of the subjects of which it will 
treat will be found at the end of this volume. 

Adyar, July, 1910. 


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The Great Ones and the Way to Them 


The Great Ones 3 

The Work of the Christ 19 

The Work of the Masters 22 

Masters and Pupils 26 

The Path of Progress 46 

The Ancient Mysteries 73 

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The Logos 93 

Buddhism 97 

Christianity 114 

Sin 120 

The Pope 121 

Ceremonial 123 

Prayer 124 

The Devil 126 




Hinduism 129 

Castes 133 

Spiritualism 134 

Symbology 137 

Fire 142 

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The Theosophical Attitude 

Common-sense 147 

Brotherhood 147 

Helping the World 157 

Criticism 159 

Prejudice 162 

Curiosity 167 

Know Thyself 169 

Asceticism 176 

Small Worries 181 

Killing out Desire 189 

The Centre of my Circle 191 

Our Duty to Animals 196 

Sympathy 199 

Our Attitude Towards Children . . . . . 201 

The Fear of Death 201 

Co-operation 203 

A Day of Life 204 

Meditation 206 


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The Higher Planes 


Nirvana 219 

The Triple Spirit 222 

Buddhic Consciousness 226 

Experience 227 

The Spheres 227 

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The Ego and his Vehicles 

The Ego and the Personality 241 

Counterparts 253 

Colours in the Astral Body 259 

The Causal Body 260 

The Deske-Elemental 260 

Lost Souls 265 

The Focus of Consciousness 285 

Force-Centres 286 

The Serpent-Fire 298 

Obsession and Insanity 309 

Sleep 315 

Somnambulism 318 

The Physical Body 319 

Tobacco and Alcohol 321 

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The Great Ones 

who have been students for many years — 
sometimes seem to fail to realise the Mas- 
ters as They truly are. I have often found 
people thinking of Them as some kind of angels or 
devas, or, at any rate, as so far removed from us by 
Their greatness that it is scarcely possible for us to 
derive much help from Them. Thier greatness is in- 
disputable, and from that point of view the gulf be- 
tween Them and ourselves may well seem incalculable 
in its extent ; and yet from another point of view They 
are very close to us, so that Their sympathy and help 
are very near and very real. That our thought on the 
subject may be clear, let us first of all try to define 
exactly what we mean by the term "Master." 

We mean by it always one who is a member of the 
Great White Brotherhood — a member at such a level 
that He is able to take pupils. Now the Great White 
Brotherhood is an organization unlike any other in the 
world, and for that reason it has often been misunder- 
stood. It has sometimes been described as the Hima- 
layan or the Tibetan Brotherhood, and the idea has 
been conveyed of a body of Indian ascetics residing 



together in a monastery in some inaccessible mountain 
fastness. Perhaps this has risen largely from the 
knowledge of the facts that the two Brothers princi- 
pally concerned in the foundation and work of the 
Theosophical Society happen at the moment to be liv- 
ing in Tibet, and to be wearing Indian bodies. To 
comprehend the facts of the case it may be better to 
approach its consideration from another point of view. 

Most of our students are familiar with the thought 
of the four stages of the Path of Holiness, and are 
aware that a man who has passed through them and 
attained to the level of the Asekha has achieved the 
task set before humanity during this chain-period, and 
is consequently free from the necessity of reincarna- 
tion on this planet or on any other. Before him then 
open seven ways among which he must choose. Most 
of them take him away from this earth into wider 
spheres of activity, probably connected with the solar 
system as a whole, so that the great majority of those 
members of our humanity who had already reached 
this goal have passed entirely out of our ken. 

The limited number who are still working directly 
for us may be divided into two classes — those who re- 
tain physical bodies, and those who do not. The latter 
are frequently spoken of under the name of Nirmana- 
kayas. They hold themselves suspended as it were be- 
tween this world and nirvana, and They devote the 
whole of Their time and energy to the generation of 
spiritual force for the benefit of mankind. This force 
They pour into what may be described as a reservoir, 
upon which the Masters and their pupils can draw 
for the assistance of Their work with humanity. The 
Nirmanakaya, because He remains to this extent in 
touch with the lower planes, has been called 'a candi- 
date for woe/ but that is misleading. What is meant 


is that He has not the joy of the higher work, or of 
the nirvanic levels. He has chosen to remain upon 
lower planes in order to help those who still suffer. 
It is quite true that to come back from the higher life 
into this world is like going down from the fresh air 
and glorious sunlight into a dark and evil-smelling 
dungeon ; but the man who does this to help some one 
out of that dungeon is not miserable and wretched 
while there, but full of the joy of helping, notwith- 
standing the greatness of the contrast and the terrible 
feeling of bondage and compression. Indeed, a man 
who refused such an opportunity of giving aid when it 
came to him would certainly feel far more woe after- 
wards, in the shape of remorse. When we have once 
really seen the spiritual misery of the world, and the 
condition of those who need such help, we can never 
again be careless or indifferent about it, as are those 
who have not seen. 

Fortunately those of us who have seen and realized 
this have ever at our command a means whereby we 
can quite really and definitely help. Tiny though our 
efforts may be as compared with the splendid outpour- 
ing of force of the Nirmanakaya, we also can add 
our little drops to the great store of force in that reser- 
voir. Every outpouring of affection or devotion pro- 
duces a double result — one upon the being to whom it 
is sent, and another upon ourselves, who sent it forth. 
But if the devotion or affection be utterly without the 
slightest thought of self, it brings in its train a third 
result also. Ordinary affection or devotion, even of a 
high kind, moves in a closed curve, however large that 
curve may be, and the result of it comes back upon the 
sender. But the devotion or affection of the truly un- 
selfish man moves in an open curve, and though some 
of its affects inevitably react upon the sender, the 


grandest and noblest part of its force ascends to the 
Logos Himself, and the response, the magnificent re- 
sponse of benediction which instantly pours forth from 
Him, falls into that reservoir for the helping of man- 
kind. So that it is within the power of every one of 
us, even the weakest and the poorest, to help the world 
in this most beautiful manner. It is this adding to the 
reservoir of spiritual force which is really the truth 
that lies at the back of the Catholic idea of works of 

The still more limited number of adepts who retain 
physical bodies remain in even closer touch with us, in 
order to fill certain offices, and to do certain work neces- 
sary for our evolution ; and it is to the latter that the 
names of the Great White Brotherhood and the Occult 
Hierarchy have sometimes been given. They are, then, 
a very small number of highly advanced men belong- 
ing not to any one nation, but to the world as a whole. 
On the physical plane They do not live together, though 
They are of course in continual communication on 
higher planes. Since They are beyond the necessity of 
rebirth, when one body wears out They can choose an- 
other wherever it may be most convenient for the work 
They wish to do, so that we need not attach any special 
importance to the nationality of the bodies which They 
happen to be wearing at any particular time. Just 
now, several of those bodies are Indian, one is Tibetan, 
one is Chinese, two at least are English, one is Italian, 
one Hungarian, and one Syrian, while one was born 
in the island of Cyprus. As I have said, the nation- 
ality of these bodies is not a matter of importance, but 
I mention these in order to show that it would be a 
mistake to think of the ruling Hierarchy as belonging 
exclusively to one race. 

Reverence restrains us from saying much of the 


great Head of this Hierarchy, in Whose hands is the 
fate of the continents, in Whose name all initiations 
are given. He is one of the very few now remaining 
upon earth of the Lords of the Flame, the Children 
of the Fire-mist, the great beings who came down from 
Venus nearly eighteen million years ago to help and 
to lead the evolution of humanity on our chain. These 
Great Ones did not take bodies from our then entirely 
undeveloped humanity, but made for themselves bodies 
in appearance resembling ours by the force of Their 
will, a kind of permanent materialization. At that 
period, and for long after it, no members of our human- 
ity were sufficiently developed to fill any of the higher 
offices in this Hierarchy, and consequently we needed 
and received this help from without. Gradually, as 
humanity has evolved, it has become more and more 
able to provide for itself, and the great Lords of the 
Flame have been set free to go to the help of yet other 
evolutions. But one of Them still holds this, the high- 
est office of all — the position of the King Who guides 
and controls all evolution taking place upon this planet 
— not only that of humanity and of the animal, vege- 
table, mineral and elemental kingdoms below it, but also 
of the great non-human kingdoms of the nature-spirits 
and the devas, some of which rise so far above it. 

Under Him are various Heads of Departments, the 
broad outlines of whose work are more within our com- 
prehension than His. Though the details are far be- 
yond us, we can form some slight idea of what must 
be the manifold responsibilities and activities of the 
Manu of a Root-race ; and perhaps we can to some ex- 
tent image to ourselves the duties of Him who is Min- 
ister of Religion in this world-kingdom — who sends 
forth religion after religion, suiting each to the needs 
of a particular type of people and to the period of the 


world's history in which it is launched, sometimes de- 
puting one of His subordinates to found it, sometimes 
even incarnating Himself for that purpose, as He may- 
see fit. This Minister of Religion is often called in the 
East the Bodhisattva — one who is about to become a 
Buddha. The previous holder of that high office was 
He whom we call the Lord Gautama Buddha. The 
attainment of Buddhahood is not simply the gaining 
of enlightenment ; it is also the taking of a great and 
definite initiation, and the man who has taken that step 
cannot again incarnate upon earth, but hands over His 
work to His successor, and usually passes away alto- 
gether from any connection with earth. 

The Lord Gautama, however, still remains to a cer- 
tain extent within touch of the world, in order that 
He may still be able to help it. Once in each year He 
still shows Himself to the brotherhood of adepts, and 
pours down His blessing upon them, to be passed 
through them to the world at large ; and He may still 
be reached in certain ways by those who know how. 
Mrs. Besant has told us, in some of her recent writings, 
how He incarnated over and over again as the great 
teacher of the earlier sub-races of the Aryan race, how 
he was Hermes — the founder of the Egyptian Mys- 
teries — also the first and greatest Zoroaster, the orig- 
inal founder of the worship of the sun and fire, and 
again He was Orpheus, the founder of the Greek Mys- 
teries. Those mentioned of course were not His only 
births, for in the course of our researches into the past 
we have seen Him as founder of other religions than 

The statement made in some of the earlier Theo- 
sophical works that He was reborn as Shankaracharya 
is an error, for from an occult point of view the two 
great teachers were on entirely different lines. There 


was, however, a certain reason at the back of the state- 
ment in the fact that some of the vehicles prepared 
by one of them were also utilized by the other, as Mad- 
ame Blavatsky has explained in the third volume of 
The Secret Doctrine. 

The deep reverence and the strong affection felt for 
the Lord Gautama all over the East are due to two 
facts. One of these is that He was the first of our 
humanity to attain to the stupendous height of Buddha- 
hood, and so He may be very truly described as the 
first-fruits and the leader of our race. (All previous 
Buddhas had belonged to other humanities, which had 
matured upon earlier chains.) The second fact is that 
for the sake of hastening the progress of humanity, 
He took upon Himself certain additional labours of the 
most stupendous character, the nature of which, it is 
impossible to comprehend. It is stated that when the 
time came at which it was expected that humanity 
would be able to provide for itself some one who was 
ready to fill this important office, no one could be found 
who was fully capable of doing so. But few of our 
earthly race had then reached the higher stages of 
adeptship, and the foremost of these were two friends 
and brothers whose development was equal. These 
two were the mighty Egos now known to us as the 
Lord Gautama and the Lord Maitreya, and in His 
great love for mankind the former at once volunteered 
to make the tremendous additional exertion necessary 
to qualify Him to do the work required, while His 
friend and brother decided to follow Him as the next 
holder of that office thousands of years later. 

In those far-off times it was the Lord Gautama who 
ruled the world of religion and education ; but now He 
has yielded that high office to the Lord Maitreya, whom 
western people call the Christ — who took the body of 


the disciple Jesus during the last three years of its life 
on the physical plane ; and those who know tell us that 
it will not be long before He descends among us once 
again, to found another faith. Anyone whose mind 
is broad enough to grasp this magnificent conception 
of the splendid reality of things will see instantly how 
worse than futile it is to set up in one's mind one re- 
ligion as in opposition to another, to try to convert any 
person from one to another, or to compare depreciat- 
ingly the founder of one with the founder of another. 
In the last case indeed it is especially ridiculous, be- 
cause the two founders are either two pupils of the 
same school, or two incarnations of the same person, 
and so are entirely in accord as to principles, though 
They may for the time be putting forward different 
aspects of the truth to suit the needs of those to whom 
They speak. The teaching is always fundamentally 
the same, though its presentation may vary widely. 
The Lord Maitreya had taken various births before 
He came into the office which He now holds, but even 
in these earlier days He seems always to have been 
a teacher or high-priest. 

It is now generally known that the two Masters who 
have been most intimately concerned with the founda- 
tion and the work of the Theosophical Society have 
taken respectively the offices of temporal and spiritual 
leader of the new sixth root-race, which is to come in- 
to existence in seven hundred years' time. The Manu, 
or temporal leader, is practically an autocratic mon- 
arch who arranges everything connected with the phys- 
ical-plane life of the new race, and endeavours in every 
way to make it as perfect an expression as possible 
of the idea which the Logos has set before Him for 
realization. The spiritual teacher will be in charge of 
all the various aspects of religion in the new race, and 


also of the education of its children. It is clear that 
one of the main objects of the foundation of the Theo- 
sophical Society was that these two Masters might 
gather round Them a number of men who would be in- 
telligent and willing co-operators in this mighty work. 
Round Them will be grouped others who are now Their 
pupils, but will by that time have attained the level of 

We may then set before ourselves as a goal the privi- 
lege of being chosen to serve Them in this wonderful 
work for the world which lies before Them. There 
will be ample opportunity for the display of all possible 
varieties of talent, for the work will be of the most 
varied character. Some of us will no doubt be at- 
tracted to one side of it and some to the other, largely 
according to the predominance of our affection for one 
or other of its great Leaders. It has often been said 
that the characteristic of one is power, and of the other 
love and compassion, and this is perfectly true, though, 
if it is not rightly understood, it may very easily prove 
misleading. One of the Masters concerned has been a 
ruler in many incarnations, and was so even in the 
earlier part of this one, and unquestionably royal 
power shows forth in His every gesture and in the very 
look of His eyes, just as surely as the face of His 
brother adept beams ever with overflowing love and 
compassion. They are of different rays or types, having 
risen to Their present level along different lines, and 
this fact cannot but show itself ; yet we should mistake 
sadly if we thought of the first as in any degree less 
loving and compassionate than His brother, or of the 
second as lacking anything of the power possessed by 
the first. Other Masters also will be engaged in this 
work, and it may well be that some of us may have 
made our link through one of Them. 


It is probable that even the Masters who are by name 
best known to you are not so real, not so clear, not so 
well-denned to you as They are to those of us who have 
had the privilege of meeting Them face to face and see- 
ing Them constantly in the course of our work. Yet 
you should endeavour by reading and thinking of Them 
to gain this realization, so that the Masters shall be- 
come to you not vague ideals but living men — men 
exactly as we are, though so enormously more advanced 
in every respect. They are men most emphatically, 
but men without failings, and so to us They seem like 
gods on account of the power, love and compassion 
radiating from Them. It is most significant that, in 
spite of the awe necessarily produced by the sense of 
this tremendous power, in Their presence one never 
feels in the least afraid or embarrassed, but always 

The man who stands before one of Them cannot but 
feel the deepest humility, because of the greatness of 
the contrast between himself and the Master. Yet 
with all this humility he yet feels a firm confidence in 
himself, for since the Master, who is also man, has 
achieved, that achievement is clearly possible even for 
him. In His presence everything seems possible and 
even easy, and one looks back with wonder on the 
troubles of yesterday, unable now to comprehend why 
they should have caused agitation or dismay. Now 
at least, the man feels, there can never again be trouble, 
since he has seen the right proportion of things. Now 
he will never again forget that, however dark the 
clouds may be, the sun is ever shining behind them. 
The vibrations of the Masters are so strong that only 
those qualities in you which harmonize with them are 
called out, so that you will feel the uttermost confi- 
dence and love, and the desire to be always in His 


presence. It is not that you forget that you have un- 
desirable qualities in you, but you feel that now you 
can conquer them, and you do not in the least mind 
His knowing all about them, because you are so certain 
that He understands perfectly, and to understand all 
is to pardon all. 

It may perhaps help us to realize the human side 
of our Masters if we remember that many of Them 
in comparatively recent times have been known as his- 
torical characters. The Master K. H., for example, 
appeared in Europe as the philosopher Pythagoras. 
Before that He was the Egyptian priest Sarthon, and 
on yet another occasion chief-priest of a temple at 
Agade, in Asia Minor, where He was killed in a gen- 
eral massacre of the inhabitants by a host of invad- 
ing barbarians who swooped down upon them from the 
hills. On that occasion He took immediately the body 
of a Greek fisherman, which had been drowned in his 
attempt to escape, and in that body the Master jour- 
neyed on to Persia, where he rendered great assistance 
to the last of the Zoroasters in the founding of the mod- 
ern form of the Mazdayaznian religion. Later He was 
the flamen of the Temple of Jupiter in Rome, and later 
still Nagarjuna, the great Buddhist teacher. We have 
found Him many times in our researches into the past 
lives of some members of our group, but almost always 
as a priest or teacher. 

Again, in these researches into the remote past we 
have frequently found the disciple Jesus, who in Pales- 
tine had the privilege of yielding up His body to the 
Christ. As a result of that act He received the incar- 
nation of Apollonius of Tyana, and in the eleventh 
century He appeared in India as the teacher Ramanu- 
jacharya, who revived the devotional element in Hin- 
duism, and raised it to so high a level. 


No doubt some of you have heard a good deal about 
other Masters besides the two who principally take 
charge of Theosophical work. Another Master, for 
example, dictated for us Light on the Path and The 
Idyll of the White Lotus, while yet another has taken 
charge of a great deal of the work in Europe, and has 
written for us some of the most splendid works in the 
whole realm of literary activity. Then the one who 
was once the disciple Jesus stands ready especially to 
guide the various activities of the Christian Churches. 
Yet another looks especially after the work here in 

Thus it may be seen that the evolution of the world 
is by no means left to itself, to get along as best it may, 
as people so often rashly suppose; on the contrary, it 
is being directed. For this Hierarchy of adepts is actu- 
ally managing it, as far as it is possible to manage it 
while leaving its inhabitants their own free-will. The 
members of the Brotherhood, through Their agents, 
are constantly trying to work with the important 
people of the world, putting advice and suggestions 
into their minds, endeavouring to move them onwards 
towards the great future of Universal Brotherhood 
when war shall have disappeared. But we must re- 
member that the karma of all the people concerned 
has to be considered and respected. It would no doubt 
be easy to force the world along at a far more rapid 
rate, but that would not be for the real advantage of 
the people concerned. The Master K. H. once said in a 
letter which I received from Him : "Of course I could 
easily tell you exactly what to do, and of course you 
would do it, but then the karma of the act would be 
mine and not yours, and you would gain only the karma 
of prompt obedience." 

Men have to learn to be not merely intelligent serv- 


ants ; they have to learn to be co-workers, because they 
themselves will have the same work to do some day, 
and if they are to be fit for greater responsibilities 
in the future they must be willing to take up the 
smaller responsibilities now. Sometimes, it is true, a 
really great opportunity or responsibility of world- 
wide importance comes to one of us, but that may per- 
haps be once in many hundreds of lives. When it comes 
we shall take it or miss it, according as we have or 
have not been in the habit of taking the smaller oppor- 
tunities of daily life, so that we have got into the habit 
of doing the right thing, and shall do it automatically 
at the critical moment. Our opportunities of doing 
good or harm are usually but small as regards the 
world as a whole ; but when we have learnt invariably 
and automatically to choose the right in these smaller 
matters, the Great Brotherhood will feel it safe to trust 
us in larger matters. 

It is indeed well that we should try to understand 
these Great Ones, not as a mere matter of curiosity 
and interest, but in order that we may realise Them 
as They are, and comprehend that They are men just 
as we are, varying among Themselves just as we vary, 
although at so much higher a level. Wisdom, power 
and love are present in all of Them equally, yet They 
are by no means all alike. They are individuals just 
as we are. They are at the top of the ladder of human- 
ity, but let us not forget that we are somewhere on its 
lower rungs, and that one day we also shall reach Their 
level and stand where They stand. 

One important fact about Them is Their all-round 
development. If we examine ourselves we shall be sure 
to find that we are to some extent disproportionate 
in our development — one-sided in certain respects. 
Some of us are full of scientific faculty and intellectual 


development, but sadly lacking in devotion and com- 
passion; others are full of whole-souled devotion, but 
defective on the intellectual side. A Master is perfect 
along both these lines, as may easily be seen when we 
think of the splendid intellect of Pythagoras along with 
the love and compassion of the Master K. H. 

We must not misunderstand Their wonderful knowl- 
edge. In order to attain the level of adeptship They 
must have cast off among others the fetter of avidya 
or ignorance, and it is often said that to cast off ignor- 
ance one must attain all-knowledge. Yet we know 
from personal acquaintance with Them that this is 
not so in the mere literal sense ; for example, there are 
Masters who do not know all languages, others who are 
not artists and musicians, and so on. I think that what 
is really meant by casting off the fetter of ignorance 
is the acquisition of a power by which They can at any 
moment command any knowledge upon any subject 
which They happen to require. They certainly have 
not all facts stored within Their physical brains, but 
equally certainly They can very quickly obtain any 
knowledge of which They have need. As to the ques- 
tion of languages, for example, if a Master wishes to 
write a letter in a language which He does not know, 
He very frequently employs the brain of a pupil who 
is acquainted with that language, throwing the ideas 
into that pupil's brain, and then employing the words 
in which He sees them clothe themselves. If a man 
speaks to Them in a language which They do not under- 
stand, They can instantly grasp on the mental plane 
the thought that lies behind the incomprehensible 

It is often asked whether an ordinary man who met 
a Master on the physical plane would instantly recog- 
nize Him as such. I do not see any reason why he 


should. He would certainly find the Adept impressive, 
noble, dignified, holy and serene. He could hardly fail 
to recognize that he was in the presence of a remark- 
able man; but to know certainly that that man was 
an adept it would be necessary to see His causal body, 
which of course the ordinary man could not do. In 
that causal body the development would show by its 
greatly increased size, and by a special arrangement 
of the colours, which would differ for each of the seven 
great types. But all this would be quite out of the 
reach of the ordinary man whom we are postulating. 

Adepts have no definite external peculiarities by 
which They may be recognized, though there is a great 
calmness and benevolence common to Them all; Their 
faces are stamped always with a joyous serenity, the 
peace which passeth all understanding. Most of Them 
are distinctly handsome men, because Their physical 
bodies are perfect, for They live in an absolutely hy- 
gienic way, and above all They never worry about any- 
thing. In the case of most of us there is still a great 
deal of karma of various kinds to be worked out and 
among other things this modifies the appearance of 
our physical bodies. In Their case all karma is long 
ago exhausted, and consequently the physical body is 
a perfect expression on the physical plane of the 
Augoeides or glorified body of the Ego. Not only 
therefore is the body of a Master usually splendidly 
handsome, but also any new body that He may take in 
a subsequent incarnation will be an almost exact re- 
production of the old one, because there is nothing to 
modify it. 

Another remarkable fact is that They are able to 
preserve Their physical bodies very much longer than 
we can — owing no doubt to the perfect health and ab- 
sence of worry which we have already mentioned. Al- 


most all of the Masters whom we know appear as men 
in the prime of life, yet in many cases there is testi- 
mony to prove that Their physical bodies must have 
long passed the ordinary age of man. I have heard 
Madame Blavatsky say that her Master as He appears 
now does not look a day older than when she first saw 
Him in her childhood sixty years before. In one case 
only, that of a Master who has recently attained adept- 
ship in the body which He is still wearing, there is a 
certain ruggedness in the face, which is doubtless the 
result of some remainder of past karma brought over 
into this incarnation, but I think we may feel sure 
that when He chooses to take another body that char- 
acteristic will not persist. 

Probably They are more silent than most men ; busy 
people have not much time for casual talk, and They 
are out of all proportion the busiest people in the 
world. Their pupil Madame Blavatsky was the most 
brilliant conversationalist that I have ever met, but 
she never made talk for the sake of making it. So 
with Them; a Master never speaks without a definite 
object in view, and His object is always to encourage, 
to help or to warn. He speaks always gently and with 
the greatest kindness, though He often betrays a very 
keen sense of humour; yet the humour itself is al- 
ways of the kindly order, and is used never to wound, 
but always to lighten the troubles of the way, or to 
soften some necessary rebuke. Certainly a man who 
has no sense of humour would not be likely to make 
much progress in occult matters. 

The number of adepts who retain physical bodies 
in order to help the evolution of the world is but small 
— perhaps some fifty or sixty in all. But it must be 
remembered that the great majority of these do not 
take pupils, as They are engaged in quite other work. 


Madame Blavatsky employed the term adept very 
loosely, for in one place she actually speaks of adepts 
who have been initiated, and adepts who have not been 
initiated. In all later writings we have reserved the 
word "initiate" for those who have passed at least 
the first of the four great stages upon the Path of Holi- 
ness, and the word adept we have restricted to those 
who have attained the Asekha level, and so have fin- 
ished the evolution required of them in this chain of 
worlds. The consciousness of the Asekha rests nor- 
mally upon the nirvanic or atmic plane while his phy- 
sical body is awake. But out of the number who have 
already attained adeptship only the very small pro- 
portion above-mentioned retain physical bodies, and 
remain in touch with the earth in order to help it ; 
and out of this a still smaller proportion are willing 
under certain conditions to accept men as pupils or 
apprentices ; and it is to these last (the smallest num- 
ber) only that we give the name of Masters. Yet few 
though They be Their office is of incalculable impor- 
tance, since without Their aid it would be impossible 
for man to enter the portals of initiation. 

The Work of the Christ 

You ask about the Great One whom we call the 
Christ, the Lord Maitreya, and about His work in the 
past and in the future. The subject is a wide one — 
one also about which it is somewhat difficult for us to 
speak with freedom, on account of the restrictions with 
which we are hedged round. Possibly the suggestion 
may be of use to you that there is what we may call 


a department of the inner government of the world 
which is devoted to religious instruction — the found- 
ing and inspiring of religions, and so on. It is the 
Christ who is in charge of that department; some- 
times He Himself appears on earth to found a great 
religion and sometimes He entrusts such work to one 
of His more advanced assistants. We must regard 
Him as exercising a kind of steady pressure from be- 
hind all the time, so that the power employed will flow 
as though automatically into every channel anywhere 
and of any sort which is open to its passage; so that 
He is working simultaneously through every religion, 
and utilizing all that is good in the way of devotion 
and self-sacrifice in each. 

The fact that these religions may be wasting their 
strength in abusing one another upon the physical 
plane is of course lamentable, but it does not make 
much difference to the fact that whatever is good in 
each of them is being simultaneously utilized from 
behind by the same great Power. This is true of course 
of all movements in the world ; every ounce of the 
good in them is being used as a channel, while the evil 
in them is in each case just so much regrettable waste 
of force which might have been utilized if the people 
had been more sensible. The section in The Secret 
Doctrine entitled The Mystery of Buddha gives a good 
deal of information as to the relations between the 
Heads of this department of Religion, and it may give 
some useful hints as to the Christ also. This is a sub- 
ject of paramount interest to the members of our So- 
ciety, since one of our Masters has a specially close 
relation with that department. 

As to the approaching advent of the Christ and the 
work which He has to do, you cannot do better than 
read Mrs. Besant's book on The Changing World. The 


time of His advent is not far distant, and the very 
body which He will take is even already born among us. 

All this was decided many thousands of years ago — 
some of it decided apparently in minute details, though 
it would seem that there is a good deal of flexibility 
with regard to other points. The utter certainty with 
which these Great Ones lay Their plans many thou- 
sands of years ahead is one of the most wonderful fea- 
tures of this stupendous work that They do. Sometimes 
it is open to those of us who have been able to develop 
the faculties of the higher planes to be allowed a 
glimpse of Their mighty schemes, to witness the lifting 
of a tiny corner of the veil which shrouds the future. 
Sometimes also we have glimpsed Their plans in an- 
other way, for in looking back into the records of the 
distant past we have found Them making prophecies, 
the fulfilment of which is even now passing before our 

I know of nothing more stirring, more absorbingly 
interesting, than such a glimpse. The splendour, the 
colossal magnitude, of Their plans takes away one's 
breath, yet even more impressive is the calm dignity, 
the utter certainty, of it all. Not individuals only, but 
even nations are the pieces in this game; but neither 
nation nor individual is compelled to play any given 
part. The opportunity to play that part is given to it 
or to him ; if he or it will not take it there is invariably 
an under-study ready to step in and fill the gap. But, 
whoever may be the instrument, this one thing at least 
is utterly certain, that the intended end will be 
achieved ; through whose agency this will be done mat- 
ters very much to the agent but nothing at all to the 
total progress of the world. Nineteen hundred years 
ago Appollonius of Tyana was sent out by the Brother- 
hood upon a mission, one feature of which was that he 


was to found, in various countries, certain magnetic 
centres. Objects of the nature of talismans were given 
to him, which he was to bury at these chosen spots, in 
order that the force which they radiated might prepare 
these places to be the centres of great events in the 
future. Some of those centres have already been util- 
ized, but some have not, and all these latter are to be 
employed in the immediate future in connection with 
the work of the coming Christ. So that much of the 
detail of His work was already definitely planned 
nearly two thousand years ago, and arrangements even 
on the physical plane were being made to prepare for 
it. When once we realize this utter certainty, doubt 
and hesitation, anxiety and worry, all fade away and 
we gain a perfect peace and content, and the most abso- 
lute confidence in the Powers who are governing the 

The Work of the Masters 

The work of the Masters on Their own planes is not 
easy for us to comprehend, though we can readily see 
that Their activity must be tremendous. The number 
of adepts still retaining physical bodies is but small, 
and yet in Their hands is the care of all the evolutions 
which are taking place on this globe. As far as human- 
ity is concerned They seem to divide the world into 
parishes, but Their parishes are continents, and an 
adept is appointed to look after each. The Theosoph- 
ical Society appears to be rather of the nature of a mis- 
sion sent out from Headquarters, so that those who 
take part in its activities are working not for any par- 
ticular parish or any particular form of religion, but 


for humanity as a whole ; and it is upon humanity as a 
whole, or at least upon humanity in the mass, that the 
Masters chiefly act. They have a department which 
devotes itself to endeavouring to influence in the right 
direction the important people of the world — to affect 
kings and statesmen in the direction of peace, to im- 
press more liberal ideas upon great preachers and 
teachers, to uplift the conceptions of artists, so that 
through them the whole world may be made a little 
happier and a little better. 

But the working of such departments as these is 
mainly entrusted to Their pupils, They themselves 
dealing rather with the egos in their causal bodies; 
They devote themselves to pouring spiritual influence 
upon them — raying out upon them as the sunlight radi- 
ates upon the flowers, and thereby evoking from them 
all that is noblest and best in them, and so promoting 
their growth. Many people are sometimes conscious 
of helpful influences of this description, but are quite 
unable to trace them to their source. The causal body 
of the average man has as yet almost no consciousness 
of anything external to itself on its own plane. It is 
very much in the condition of the chicken within the 
egg, which is entirely unconscious of the source of the 
heat which nevertheless stimulates its growth. When 
any person reaches the stage where he breaks through 
his shell, and becomes capable of some sort of response, 
the whole process takes on a different form, and is 
enormously quickened. Even the group-souls of ani- 
mals on the lower part of the mental plane are greatly 
affected and assisted by such influence, for like sun- 
light the force floods the entire plane and affects to 
some extent everything which is within its radius. In 
pouring out this force the Masters frequently take 
advantage of special occasions and of places where 


there is some strong magnetic centre. Where some 
holy man has lived and died, or where some relics of 
such a person create a suitable atmosphere, They take 
advantage of such conditions and cause Their own 
force to radiate along the channels which are already 
prepared. When some vast assemblage of pilgrims 
comes together in a receptive attitude, again They take 
advantage of the occasion by pouring Their forces out 
upon the people through the channels by means of 
which they have been taught to expect help and 

It is owing to assistance of this nature given to us 
from above that humanity has progressed even to its 
present position. We are still in the fourth round, 
which should naturally be devoted to the development 
of desire and emotion, and yet we are already engaged 
in the unfolding of the intellect, which is to be the spe- 
cial characteristic of the fifth round. That this is so 
is due to the immense stimulus given to our evolution 
by the descent of the Lords of the Flame from Venus, 
and by the work of the adepts who have preserved for 
us that influence and steadily sacrificed Themselves in 
order that we might make the better progress. 

Those who understand anything of this work, and 
most especially those of us who have been privileged to 
see the Masters doing it, would never for a moment 
think of interrupting Them in such altruistic labour 
as this by propounding any personal requests. The 
vast importance of the work which They are doing, 
and the enormous amount of it, make it obviously im- 
possible that They should take up personal work with 
individuals. In the cases where such work has to be 
done it is always delegated to pupils or performed by 
means of elementals and nature-spirits. Therefore it 
becomes emphatically the duty of the student to fit him- 


self to do some of this lower work, for the very good 
reason that if he does not do so, the work will for the 
present be left undone, since it would be obviously 
impossible for the Masters to turn aside from Their far 
greater work for the whole world to attend to individ- 
ual cases. The work of the invisible helpers on the 
astral plane would simply not be done unless there 
were pupils at the stage where that is the best work 
that they can do ; for so soon as they pass beyond that 
stage and can do higher work, the higher work will 
certainly be given to them. 

People sometimes ask why the Masters so often 
work through imperfect instruments; the answer is 
obviously because They have not time to do the work 
themselves, and They must therefore employ such in- 
struments as They have, or the work will not be done 
at all. Take for example the writing of books for the 
helping of humanity. It is obvious that the Masters 
could do this very far better than any of Their pupils 
can, and by doing it They could entirely avoid any 
possibility of erroneous or imperfect statements. But 
They have absolutely no time to devote to such work, 
and therefore if it were not done by pupils it would 
remain undone. Besides, if the Masters did it They 
would take away the opportunity of making good 
karma from those who can do it — certainly not as well 
as They, but yet after all well enough for the use of 
those who know so very much less. 

We must remember that every Master has at His 
command only a certain amount of force which, enor- 
mous as it seems to us, is still a limited quantity, and it 
is His duty to employ this force to the best possible 
advantage for the helping of humanity. Therefore it 
would, if we may say so without irreverence, be abso- 
lutely wrong for Him to waste that force upon any- 


thing lower than the very highest that it can reach, 
or to spend upon individual cases, however deserving, 
that which can be so much better employed for the wel- 
fare of all. 

Masters and Pupils 

It has already been said that out of the compara- 
tively small number of adepts who retain Their phys- 
ical bodies and fill the offices connected with the admin- 
istration of the world under the Great Hierarchy, there 
is a still smaller number who accept pupils, and to 
whom therefore we give the name of Masters. Let us 
see then what it means to be a pupil of one of these 
Masters, what is expected of one who aspires to this 
position and what is the work which he has to do. 

First let us have it clearly in our minds that the 
Masters have absolutely dedicated themselves to the 
service of humanity, and that They are utterly absorbed 
in the work to the entire exclusion of every other con- 
sideration. In speaking to you on this subject before, 
I have mentioned that a Master has only a certain defi- 
nite amount of force to expend, and that though the 
amount of that force seems to us almost incalculable, 
He is nevertheless exceedingly careful to use every 
ounce of it to the best possible advantage. Obviously 
to take in hand and instruct a pupil will make some 
demand upon His time and upon this store of energy, 
and since He regards everything from the standpoint 
of its use in regard to the promotion of evolution He 
will not expend this time and energy upon any man 
unless He can see that it is a good investment. 

He will take a man as a pupil, or perhaps we should 


rather say as an apprentice, when He sees that the 
amount of time and strength spent in training him will 
produce more result eventually than any other way of 
expending the same amount — but not otherwise. For 
example, a man might have many qualifications which 
would make him useful as an assistant, but at the same 
time some one great fault which would be a constant 
obstacle in his way, which would nullify much of the 
good that he might otherwise do. No Master would 
accept such a man as a pupil ; but he might say to him : 
"Go to work and conquer that special fault of yours, 
and when you have succeeded I will take you as my 
assistant, and will train you further." 

So many of our earnest students are full of the most 
benevolent and altruistic feeling, and, knowing them- 
selves to be in this way very different from the ma- 
jority of mankind, they sometimes say to themselves, 
"I am so deeply anxious to work for humanity; why 
will not the Master take me in hand and train me?" 

Let us face the facts boldly. The Master will not 
train you because you are still full of all sorts of minor 
imperfections. It is quite true, as you no doubt feel 
within yourselves, that your benevolence, your kind- 
liness, your earnest wish to be helpful, are far greater 
things on the credit side of the account than are all 
these small faults on the debit side. But try to realize 
that there are thousands of people in the world who are 
benevolent and well-meaning, and that you differ from 
them only in the fact that you happen to have a little 
more knowledge, and so you are able to direct your 
benevolence into more definitely useful channels than 
those others. If these were all the qualifications re- 
quired for discipleship, each Master might have thou- 
sands of pupils, and His whole time would be taken 
up in endeavouring to bring into shape those few thou- 


sands of people, with all their petty little faults on the 
astral and physical planes, and in the meantime the 
Master's splendid work with the egos on the higher 
levels would have to be entirely neglected. 

First of all then, to be a pupil of a Master means that 
one must look upon life as the Master looks upon it, 
solely from the point of view of what is best for the 
progress of the world. The pupil must be prepared ab- 
solutely to forget himself, to sink his personality en- 
tirely, and he must understand that this is not a mere 
poetical figure or a fashion of speech, but that it means 
just exactly what it says — that he must have no per- 
sonal desires whatsoever, and must be willing to order 
the whole of his life according to the work that he has 
to do. How many of us are there who are whole- 
heartedly willing to take even this first step towards 
accepted discipleship? 

Think what it means to become a disciple. When 
any man offers himself for such a position the Master 
will at once say whether or not He considers him fit to 
enter upon the stage of the probationary pupil. If the 
candidate appears to be reasonably near the possession 
of the necessary qualifications the Master may take him 
upon probation, which means that he will remain for a 
period of some years under very close observation. 
Seven years is the average time of this probation, 
but it may be indefinitely lengthened if the candidate 
should prove unsatisfactory, or on the other hand it 
may be much shortened if it is seen that he has really 
taken himself in hand. I have known it to be extended 
to thirty years ; I have known it to be reduced to five 
years, and even to three, and in one quite exceptional 
case it was only five months. During this period of 
probation the pupil is not in any sense in any kind of 
direct communication with the Master ; he is little likely 


to hear or to see anything of Him. Nor as a general 
rule are any special trials or difficulties put in his way; 
he is simply carefully watched in his attitude towards 
all the little daily troubles of life. For convenience of 
observation the Master makes what is called a "living 
image" of each such probationary pupil — that is to say, 
an exact duplicate of the man's astral and mental 
bodies. This image He keeps in a place where He can 
easily reach it, and He places it in magnetic rapport 
with the man himself, so that every modification of 
thought or of feeling in the man's own vehicles is faith- 
fully reproduced in the image. These images are ex- 
amined daily by the Master, who in this way obtains 
with the least possible trouble a perfectly accurate 
record of his prospective pupil's thoughts and feel- 
ings, and from this He is able to decide when He can 
take him into the far closer relationship of the second 
stage — that of the accepted pupil. 

Remember that the Master is a channel for the dis- 
tribution of the forces of the Logos, and not indeed a 
mere unconscious channel but a keenly intelligent co- 
operator; and He is this because He is himself con- 
sciously a part of the Logos. Just in the same way at 
a lower level the accepted pupil is a channel of the 
forces of the Master, but he, too, must be not an uncon- 
scious channel but an intelligent co-operator, and in 
order to be this he must also become virtually part of 
the consciousness of the Master. 

An accepted pupil is taken into his Master's con- 
sciousness to so great an extent that whatever he sees 
or hears is within the knowledge of his Master — not 
that the Master necessarily sees or hears it at the same 
moment (though that often happens) but that it lies 
within the Master's memory exactly as it does within 
the memory of the pupil. Whatever the pupil feels or 


thinks is within the astral and mental bodies of his 
Master. When we realize all that this means, we see 
very clearly why it would be utterly impossible for the 
Master to accept any pupil until the pupil's thoughts 
and feelings were such as the Master would wish to 
harbour within himself. 

It unfortunately sometimes happens that there comes 
into the mind of the pupil some thought which is not 
fit to be harboured by the Master, and as soon as the 
Master feels that, He at once erects a barrier and shuts 
off from himself that vibration, but to do this diverts 
His attention for a moment from His other work, and 
takes a certain amount of energy. Once more we see 
clearly that it would be impossible for a Master to take 
into such a relation with himself one who often in- 
dulged in thoughts unfit for the Master's mind ; to have 
to be continually or even frequently turned aside from 
His work in order to shut off undesirable thoughts or 
feelings would clearly be a quite intolerable tax upon 
the Master's time and strength. 

It is not because of any lack of compassion or pa- 
tience that a Master could not take such a man ; it is 
simply that it would not be a good use either of His 
time or His energy, and to make the best possible use 
of both of them is His simple duty. If a man feels him- 
self worthy to be accepted as a pupil, and wonders why 
this privilege has not already been extended to him, let 
him watch himself closely for even a single day, and 
ask himself whether during that day there has been in 
him any single thought or feeling which would have 
been unworthy of the Master. Remember that not only 
definitely evil or unkind thoughts are unworthy of 
Him, but also trifling thoughts, critical thoughts, irri- 
tated thoughts — above all, thoughts of self. Who of us 
is sufficient for these things? 


The effect which the Master seeks to produce by this 
wonderfully close association is the harmonizing and 
attuning of the pupil's vehicles — the same result which 
an Indian teacher tries to gain by keeping his disciples 
always in the neighborhood physically. Whatever may 
be the special kind of exercises of the special course of 
study prescribed, in all cases the principal effect upon 
the pupil is that produced not by either exercises or 
study, but by being constantly in the presence of the 
teacher. The various vehicles of the pupil are vibrat- 
ing at their accustomed rates — probably each of them 
at various rates, due to the constant presence of pass- 
ing emotions and wandering thoughts of all kinds. The 
first and most difficult task of the pupil is to reduce all 
this chaos to order — to eliminate the host of minor 
interests, and control the wandering thoughts, and this 
must be achieved by a steady pressure of the will exer- 
cised upon all his vehicles through a long period of 

While he still lives in the world the difficulty of this 
undertaking is multiplied a hundredfold by the cease- 
less pressure of disturbing waves of thought and emo- 
tion, which give him no moment of rest, no oppor- 
tunity to collect his forces in order to make a real 
effort. This is why in India the man who wishes to 
live the higher life retires to the jungle — why, in all 
countries and in all ages, there have been men willing 
to adopt the contemplative life of the hermit. The 
hermit at least has breathing-space, has rest from the 
endless conflict, so that he can find time to think co- 
herently. He has little to hinder him in his struggle, 
and the calm influences of nature are even to a certain 
extent helpful. 

But the man who lives perpetually in the presence 
of one already upon the Path has a still greater advan- 


tage. Such a teacher has by the hypothesis already 
calmed his vehicles and accustomed them to vibrate at 
a few carefully selected rates instead of in a hundred 
promiscuous frenzies. These few rates of vibration 
are very strong and steady, and day and night, whether 
he is sleeping or waking, they are playing unceasingly 
upon the vehicles of the pupil, and gradually raising 
him to his teacher's key. Nothing but time and close 
association will produce this effect; and even then not 
with every one, but only with those capable of being 
attuned. Many teachers require to see a reasonable 
proportion of this result before they will impart their 
special methods of occult development ; in other words, 
before teaching a pupil something which may easily 
do him much harm if wrongfully used, they wish to be 
certain by ocular demonstration that he is a man of 
the type to which this instruction is appropriate, and 
is sufficiently amenable to their influence to be held 
in the right way by it when the strain comes. A thou- 
sand times greater are the advantages gained by those 
whom the Master selects — who thus have the oppor- 
tunity of such close and intimate contact with Him. 

This then is what is meant by being an accepted 
pupil of the Master — that the man becomes a kind of 
outpost of that Master's consciousness, so that the 
strength of the Great Ones may be poured out through 
him, and the world may be definitely the better for his 
presence in it. The pupil is so closely in touch with the 
Master's thought that he can at any time see what that 
thought is upon any given subject, and in that way he 
is often saved from error. The Master can at any 
moment send a thought through that pupil either in 
the form of a suggestion or a message. If, for example, 
the pupil is writing a letter or giving a lecture, the Mas- 
ter is subconsciously aware of that fact, and may at 


any moment throw into the mind of the pupil a sen- 
tence to be included in that letter or a useful illustra- 
tion for that lecture. In earlier stages the pupil is 
often unconscious of this, and supposes these ideas to 
have arisen spontaneously in his own mind, but he very 
soon learns to recognize the thought of the Master. 
Indeed, it is eminently necessary that he should learn 
to recognize it, because there are many other entities 
on the astral and mental planes who are very ready in 
the most friendly way and with the best intentions to 
make similar suggestions, and it is assuredly well that 
the pupil should learn to distinguish from whom they 

We must not, however, confuse such use by a Master 
of his pupil's body with the mediumship which we have 
so often characterized as objectionable. For example, 
there have been some occasions on which one or other 
of our Masters has spoken through our President, and 
it has been stated that on such occasions sometimes her 
very voice and manner and even her features have been 
changed. But it must be remembered that in all such 
cases she has retained the fullest consciousness and has 
known exactly who was speaking and why. That is 
a condition so different from what is ordinarily under- 
stood by mediumship that it would be quite unfair to 
call it by the same name. There can be no objection 
to such use of a pupil's body, but it is only in the case 
of a very few pupils that the Masters have ever done 

When it happens, the President's consciousness is 
just as fully active in her physical brain as ever, but 
instead of directing her organs of speech herself she 
listens while the Master makes use of them. He form- 
ulates the sentences in His own brain and then trans- 
fers them to hers. While this is being done she can 


use her own brain-power, as it were passively, to lis- 
ten, to understand, and to admire ; but I conceive that it 
would hardly be possible for her at absolutely the same 
moment to compose a sentence upon some quite differ- 
ent subject. I suppose that the highest form of spirit- 
ualistic control may more or less approximate to this, 
but probably very rarely, and hardly ever com- 

The influence of a Master is so powerful that it may 
well shine through to almost any extent, and any one 
of the audience who is really impressible might be con- 
scious of His presence even to the extent of seeing His 
features or hearing His voice, instead of those of His 
pupil. It is not very probable that any actual physical 
change takes place, such as would be visible to non- 
sensitive spectators. In spiritualism I have indeed 
seen cases in which the medium's voice and manner, 
and even his very features, were actually physically 
entirely changed, but that always means a complete 
suppression of his ego by the entity speaking through 
him, and this would be quite foreign to the system of 
training adopted by our Masters. 

There is yet a third stage of even more intimate 
union, when the pupil becomes what is called the "son" 
of the Master. This is accorded only after the Master 
has had considerable experience of the man as an ac- 
cepted pupil, when He is quite certain that nothing can 
arise in the mind or astral body of the pupil which will 
ever need to be shut off. For that is perhaps the prin- 
cipal difference which can be readily explained on the 
physical plane between the position of the accepted 
disciple and of the "son" — that the accepted disciple, 
though truly a part of the Master's consciousness, can 
still be shut off when it seems desirable, whereas the 
"son" is drawn into a union so close and so sacred that 


even the power of the Master cannot undo what has 
been done to the extent of separating these conscious- 
nesses even for a moment. 

These then are the three stages of the relation of a 
pupil to his Master ; first, the probationary period, dur- 
ing which he is not in any real sense a pupil at all; 
second, the period of accepted discipleship ; third, the 
period of "sonship." It must be clearly understood 
that these relations have nothing whatever to do with 
initiations or steps on the Path, which belong to an 
entirely different category, and are tokens of the man's 
relation not to his Master but to the Great White 
Brotherhood and to its august Head. One may find a 
not inapt symbol of these respective relationships in 
the position in which an undergraduate stands with 
regard to the head of his college and to the university 
as a whole. The university as such requires the man 
to pass certain examinations, and the precise methods 
in which he prepares himself for this, are, compara- 
tively speaking, matters of indifference to it. It is the 
university, and not the head of the college, that ar- 
ranges the examination and confers the various 
degrees ; the work of the head of the college is simply to 
see that the candidate is duly prepared. In the process 
of such preparation he may, as a private gentleman, 
enter into whatever social or other relations he may 
think proper with his pupil ; but all that is not the busi- 
ness of the university. 

Just in the same way the Great White Brotherhood 
has nothing to do with the relations between the Master 
and His pupil ; that is a matter solely for the private 
consideration of the Master himself. Whenever the 
Master considers that the pupil is fit for the first initi- 
ation, He gives notice of that fact and presents him for 
it, and ttie Brotherhood asks only whether he is ready 


for the initiation, and not what is the relationship 
between him and any Master. At the same time it is 
true that a candidate for initiation must be proposed 
and seconded by two of the higher members of the 
Brotherhood — that is to say, by two who have reached 
the level of adeptship ; and it is certain that the Master 
would not propose a man for the tests of initiation 
unless He had with regard to him the certainty of his 
fitness, which could only come from such close identifi- 
cation with his consciousness as that of which I have 
already spoken. 

When a student hears all this there naturally arises 
in his mind the question, "How can I become the pupil 
of a Master? What can I do that will attract His atten- 
tion?" As a matter of fact it is quite unnecessary that 
we should try to attract His attention, for the Masters 
are ever watching for those whom They can help to be 
of use to Them in the great work which They have to 
do, and we need not have the slightest fear that we 
shall be overlooked. 

I remember very well an incident of the early days 
of my own connection with the Great Ones a quarter 
of a century ago. I met on the physical plane a man 
of great enthusiasm and of the most saintly character, 
one who believed thoroughly in the existence of the 
Masters, and devoted his life to the one object of quali- 
fying himself for Their service. He seemed to me a 
man in every way so entirely suitable for discipleship, 
so obviously better than myself in many ways, that I 
could not understand how it was that he was not 
already accepted ; and so, being young in the work and 
ignorant, one day when a good opportunity offered 
itself I very humbly and as it were apologetically men- 
tioned his name to the Master with the suggestion that 
he might perhaps prove a good instrument. A smile 


of kindly amusement broke out upon the Master's face, 
as He said : 

"Ah, you need not fear that your friend is being 
overlooked ; no one can ever be overlooked ; but in this 
case there still remains a certain karma to be worked 
out, which makes it impossible at the moment to accept 
your suggestion. Soon your friend will pass away from 
the physical plane, and soon he will return to it again, 
and then the expiation will be complete and what you 
desire for him will have become possible." 

And then, with the gentle kindness which is always 
so prominent a characteristic in Him, He blended my 
consciousness with His in an even more intimate man- 
ner, and raised it to a plane far higher than I could 
then reach, and from that elevation He showed me how 
the Masters look out upon the world. The whole earth 
lay before us with all its millions of souls, undeveloped 
most of them, and therefore inconspicuous ; but wher- 
ever amidst all that mighty multitude there was one 
who was approaching even at a great distance the point 
at which definite use could be made of him, he stood out 
among the rest just as the flame of a light-house stands 
out in the darkness of the night. 

"Now you see," said the Master, "how utterly impos- 
sible it would be that any one should be overlooked who 
is even within measurable distance of the possibility 
of acceptance as a probationer." 

We can do nothing on our side but steadily work at 
the improvement of our own character and endeavour 
in every possible way, by the study of Theosophical 
works, by self-development, and by the unselfishness of 
our devotion to the interests of others, to fit ourselves 
for the honour which we desire, having within our 
minds the utter certainty that as soon as we are ready 
the acceptance will assuredly come. We can do nothing 


but fit ourselves, and we have the certainty that as soon 
as we are ready we shall be accepted, because we know 
how great is the need of helpers. But until we can be 
utilized economically — until, that is to say, the force 
spent upon us will bring forth, through our action, 
more result than it would if spent in any other way, it 
would be a violation of duty on the part of the Master 
to draw us into close relations with Him. 

We may be quite sure that there are in reality no 
exceptions to this rule, even though we may sometimes 
think that we have seen some. A man may become a 
probationary pupil of the Master while he has still some 
obvious faults, but we may be very sure that in such a 
case there are good qualities under the surface which 
far more than counterbalance the superficial evils. An- 
other thing that must be remembered is that, like the 
rest of us, the Great Masters of Wisdom have a long 
line of lives behind Them, and in those lives, like others, 
They have made certain karmic ties, and so sometimes 
it happens that a particular individual has a claim on 
Them for some service rendered long ago in the remote 
past. In the lines of past lives which we have exam- 
ined we sometimes come across instances of such a 
karmic link. 

One well-known case is that of a certain member 
who, when a powerful noble in Egypt six thousand 
years ago, used his influence with the authorities of one 
of the great temples to introduce into it as a favoured 
student a young man who displayed the keenest inter- 
est in occult matters. That young student took up 
occultism with the greatest eagerness and made the 
most astonishing progress in it, so that in every life 
thereafter he continued the studies begun in ancient 
Khem. Between then and now that young student has 
attained adeptship, and thus passed on far in advance 


of the friend who then introduced him to the temple. 
In the work which He has had to do in these later days 
He needed some one to put before the world certain 
truths which had to be published, because the time for 
such unfoldment was fully ripe. He looked round for 
an instrument whom He could use, and He found His 
old friend and helper of six thousand years ago in a 
position in which it was possible to employ him in this 
work. At once He remembered His ancient debt and 
repaid it by giving to His friend this wonderful priv- 
ilege of being the channel of the truth to the world. 

Such cases indeed are fairly numerous. We all know 
how at a period still far earlier one of the founders of 
the Theosophical Society saved the life of the other, 
who was at that time the eldest son of Him who is now 
the Master and teacher of both, and thus established a 
karmic claim which has drawn those three into close 
relationship ever since. Again, on another occasion in 
the remote past our President saved the life of her 
present teacher when there was a conspiracy to assas- 
sinate Him ; and in yet another instance one who has 
but just passed the portals of initiation saved the life 
of the Bodhisattva, the great Lord Maitreya himself. 

Now all these are unquestionably karmic links, and 
they constitute debts which will be fully repaid. So it 
may happen to any of us that in some past life we have 
come into touch with One who is now a Master, or done 
Him some slight service, and if so, that may well prove 
to have been the commencement of an association 
which will ripen into discipleship on our side. It fre- 
quently happens that people are drawn together by a 
strong common interest in occultism, and in later lives, 
when some of these have out-distanced the others, those 
who were once friends and fellow-students often fall 
naturally into the relation of teacher and pupil. 


No doubt a man may attract Their attention in many 
ways ; he may bring himself to the portals of the Path 
by association with those in advance of him, by the 
force of sheer hard thinking, by devotion, or by ear- 
nest endeavour in good works; but all these are after 
all merely so many divisions of the one Way, because 
they all of them mean that he is making himself fit for 
one or other department of the work that is to be done. 
And so when by any of these methods he reaches a cer- 
tain level, he inevitably attracts the attention of the 
Masters of the Wisdom and comes in some way into 
connection with Them, though probably not upon the 
physical plane. The Master's usual plan is that he is 
brought into connection with one or other of Their 
more prominent pupils, and this is very much the safest 
way, since it is impossible for any ordinary person to 
assure himself of the good faith of astral communica- 

Unless a man has had very wide experience in con- 
nection with mediumship, he would find it very diffi- 
cult to realize how many quite ordinary people there 
are upon the astral plane who are burning with the 
desire to pose as great world-teachers. They are gen- 
erally quite honest in their intentions, and really think 
that they have teaching to give which will save the 
world. Now that they are dead they have fully real- 
ized the worthlessness of mere worldly objects, and 
they feel (quite rightly) that if they could only impress 
upon mankind in general the ideas which they have 
now acquired, the whole world would immediately be- 
come a very different place. They are also fully per- 
suaded that they have only to publish their discoveries 
upon the physical plane in order at once to convince 
everybody of their inherent reasonableness, and so they 
select some impressionable lady and tell her that they 


have chosen her out of all the world to be the medium 
of a magnificent revelation. 

Now it is rather flattering to the average person to 
be told that he or she is the sole medium in all the 
world for some mighty entity, the only channel for 
some exclusive and transcendent teaching; and even 
though the communicating entity should disclaim any 
special greatness (which he usually does not) this is 
put down to praiseworthy modesty on his part, and he 
is described as at least an archangel, even if not a still 
more direct manifestation of the Deity. What such a 
communicating entity forgets is that when he was alive 
on the physical plane other people were making similar 
communications through various mediums, and that 
then he never paid the slightest attention to them, nor 
was in any way affected by what they said, and so he 
does not realise that precisely as he, when immersed 
in the affairs of this world, declined to be moved by 
those very communications, so will all the world now 
go on contentedly with its own business and pay no 
attention to him. 

Often such entities assume distinguished names 
from what may almost be called a pardonable motive, 
for they know human nature well enough to be aware 
that if John Smith or Thomas Brown comes back from 
the dead and enunciates a certain doctrine it will have 
very little chance of acceptance, no matter how excel- 
lent and how entirely true it may be; whereas the 
same words uttered by George Washington, Julius 
Csesar or the Archangel Michael would be at least re- 
spectfully considered and very probably blindly ac- 

Any man functioning on the astral plane has a cer- 
tain amount of insight into the thoughts and feelings 
of those with whom he is dealing, and therefore it is 


not wonderful that when such people come into contact 
with the Theosophists, and see their minds to be full 
of reverence for the Masters of Wisdom, they should 
sometimes personate those very Masters of Wisdom 
in order to command more ready acceptance for what- 
ever ideas they wish to promulgate. Also it must not 
be forgotten that there are those who bear no good 
will to our Masters, and desire to do Them any injury 
which lies within their power. They cannot of course 
harm Them directly, and therefore they sometimes try 
to do so through the pupils whom They love. One of 
the easiest ways in which they can produce difficulties 
is by assuming the form of the Master who is so 
strongly revered by their victim, and in many cases 
such an imitation is quite perfect, so far as the phy- 
sical appearance is concerned, except that it always 
seems to me that they can never quite get the right 
expression into the eyes. One who has developed the 
sight of the higher planes cannot be thus deluded, as 
it is quite impossible for any of these entities to imi- 
tate the causal body of the Master. 

Most assuredly we shall do well to heed diligently the 
wise precept in The Voice of the Silence, "Seek not thy 
Guru in those mayavic regions." Accept no teaching 
from some self-appointed preceptor on the astral plane, 
but receive all communications and advice which come 
thence precisely as you would receive similar advice or 
remarks made by a stranger on the physical plane. 
Take them for what they are worth, and accept the ad- 
vice or reject it as your own conscience dictates, with- 
out paying attention to its alleged source. Seek rather 
for teaching which satisfies the intellect, and apply the 
test of intellect and conscience to any claims which are 
put forward. 

Let it never be forgotten that ours are not the only 


lines. The two Masters who are most intimately asso- 
ciated with the work of the Theosophical Society repre- 
sent two different rays or methods of teaching; but 
there are others besides these. All schools of the 
higher teaching give a preliminary training to purify 
the character, but the particular teachings given and 
practices recommended differ according to the type of 
the teacher. But all teachers who belong to the Great 
White Lodge insist upon the attainment of the highest 
only by means of the Path of Holiness, and the quench- 
ing of desire by conquering it and not by gratifying it. 
The pupil will be employed by his Master in many 
different ways. Some are set to take up the lines of 
work indicated in the book Invisible Helpers; others 
are employed specifically in assisting the Masters per- 
sonally in some piece of work which They happen to 
have undertaken ; some are set astrally to deliver lec- 
tures to audiences of less developed souls, or to help 
and teach others who are free temporarily during 
sleep, or are permanently after death denizens of the 
astral world. When a pupil falls asleep at night he 
usually reports himself to his Master, and he is then 
told if there is any definite piece of work which he can 
do. If there happens to be nothing special he will take 
up his usual nocturnal work, whatever that may be. 
Every invisible helper acquires a number of regular 
cases or patients who are put under his charge just 
exactly as are those of a doctor on the physical plane ; 
and whenever there is no unusual work for him to do 
he simply goes on his ordinary rounds, visits these 
cases and does his best for them. So that he has al- 
ways plenty of work of this kind to fill up his time 
when he is not especially needed, as for some sudden 
catastrophe which throws out a large number of souls 
simultaneously into the astral plane in a condition of 


terror. Most of such training in astral work as the 
pupil needs is usually given by one of the older pupils 
of the Master. 

If it is necessary that the pupil should undertake 
any special system of psychic development on the phy- 
sical plane, the Master will indicate it to him either 
directly or through one of His recognized pupils. What 
is prescribed in this way differs according to the char- 
acter and need of the pupil, and it is usually best for 
us to wait until we are definitely told before attempt- 
ing any practices of this kind. Even when we are told 
of them it is best that we should keep them to our- 
selves, and not discuss them with others, as it is more 
than probable that they would be unsuited to anyone 
else. Here in India among the hosts of minor teachers 
each man has his own methods, the difference depend- 
ing partly on the different schools of philosophy to 
which they belong, and partly upon their different 
ways of looking at the same thing. But whatever their 
methods are, they usually keep them very secret in 
order to avoid the responsibility of their being wrongly 

The harm that may be done by the indiscriminate 
publication of any of these half-physical systems has 
been very clearly exemplified in America, where a book 
by an Indian teacher has obtained a large circulation. 
This teacher guardedly mentioned certain practices, 
prefacing his teaching with a carefully expressed warn- 
ing as to the necessity of preparation by the training 
of character. But nevertheless what he has written 
has caused a great deal of suffering, because people 
have uniformly disregarded his warning as to training 
and have recklessly tried to carry out the practices 
which he described. In a tour a few years ago in that 
country I met quite a number of people who through 


attempting to follow his directions had made them- 
selves physical wrecks. Some had become insane, some 
were subject to fits, and others had fallen under the 
spell of various obsessing entities. In order that such 
practices as these may be attempted with safety it is 
absolutely necessary that they be undertaken (as they 
always are undertaken in India) in the actual presence 
of a teacher who watches the results and at once inter- 
feres when he sees that anything is going wrong. In- 
deed, in this country it is usual for the pupil to remain 
in physical proximity to his teacher, because here 
people understand what I mentioned some time ago — 
that the first and greatest work which a teacher has 
to do is to attune the aura of the pupil to his own — to 
annul the effect of the ordinary disturbed conditions 
which prevail in the world, to show him how to aban- 
don all that and to live in a world of absolute calm. 
One of our own Masters said in one of the earlier let- 
ters, "Come out of your world into ours," and this of 
course refers not to a place but to a condition of mind. 
Remember that everyone who meditates upon the 
Master makes a definite link with Him, which shows 
itself to clairvoyant vision as a kind of line of light. 
The Master always subconsciously feels the impinging 
of such a line, and sends out along it in response a 
steady stream of magnetism which continues to play 
long after the meditation is over. The regular prac- 
tice of such meditation and concentration is of the 
utmost help to the aspirant, and the regularity is one 
of the most important factors in producing the result. 
It should be undertaken daily at the same hour, and we 
should steadily persevere with it, even though no ob- 
vious effect may be produced. When no effect appears 
we must be especially careful to avoid depression, be- 
cause depression makes it more difficult for a Master's 


influence to act upon us, and it also shows that we are 
thinking more of ourselves than of the Master. 

The Path of Progress 

When we state the great truth that all evolution 
came forth from the Divine, and that we ourselves are 
but sparks of the divine flame and one day to be re- 
united to it, people often ask us two not unnatural 
questions. First they say, "Why should the divine 
Being have sent us forth, since after all we are part of 
Him, and so were divine from the beginning? Why in 
fact did the Logos manifest Himself in matter at all, 
seeing that He was perfect and glorious and all-wise 
in the beginning? Secondly, if we emanate from the 
divine Spirit, why were we sent forth into wickedness, 
and how can man, coming forth from so pure a source, 
enter into such degradation as we constantly see around 
us?" Since these questions recur so often, it is worth 
while for us to consider how they may be answered. 

Why the Logos manifested Himself is scarcely our 
business. It is enough for us to know that He has 
chosen to do so, that we are part of His scheme, and 
that it is therefore our duty to try to understand that 
scheme so far as we can, and to adapt ourselves to it. 
But if there be any who desire to speculate upon this 
mystery, perhaps no better suggestion can be found 
for them than that which was given by the Gnostic 
Doctors : 

"God is Love, but Love itself cannot be perfect un- 
less it has those upon whom it can be lavished and 
by whom it can be returned. Therefore He put forth 
of Himself into matter, and He limited His glory, in 
order that through this natural and slow process of 


evolution we might come into being; and we in turn 
according to His will are to develop until we reach 
even His own level, and then the very Love of God 
itself will become more perfect, because it will then 
be lavished on those, His own children, who will fully 
understand and return it, and so His great scheme will 
be realised and His Will will be done." 

As to the further consideration why the emanation 
should have taken place in this particular way, that 
again is not our affair, for we are concerned only with 
the fact s of evolution, not the reasons for it ; yet there 
seems little difficulty in at least indicating the lines 
along which an answer may be found. It is quite true 
that man is an emanation from the substance of the 
Divine, but it must be remembered that the substance, 
when it issues forth, is undifferentiated, and from our 
point of view unconscious; that is, it has within it 
rather the potentiality of consciousness than anything 
to which we are in the habit of applying that term. 

In its descent into matter it is simply gathering 
round it the matter of the different planes through 
which it passes, and it is not until, having reached the 
lowest point of its evolution in the mineral kingdom, 
it turns upwards and begins its return to the level 
whence it came, that it commences to develop what we 
call consciousness at all. It is for that reason that 
man began first of all to unfold his consciousness on 
the physical plane, and it is only after fully attaining 
that that he begins to be conscious upon the astral and 
mental planes in turn. 

No doubt God might have made man perfect and 
obedient to the law by one act of His will, but is it not 
obvious that such a man would have been a mere au- 
tomaton — that the will working in him would have been 
God's will, not his own? What the LOGOS desired was 


to call into existence, from His own substance, those 
who should be like unto Him in power and glory, abso- 
lutely free to choose and yet absolutely certain to choose 
the right and not the wrong, because in addition to 
perfect power they would have perfect knowledge and 
perfect love. 

It is not easy to imagine any other way in which 
this result could be achieved but that which has been 
adopted — the plan of leaving man free and therefore 
capable of making mistakes. From those mistakes he 
learns and gains experience, and although in such a 
scheme as this it is inevitable that there should be evil, 
and therefore sorrow and suffering, yet when the part 
these play as factors in man's evolution is properly un- 
derstood we shall see that the Chinese proverb is true 
which tells us that evil is but the dark shadow of good. 
Most emphatically it is true that, however black the 
clouds may look from below, those clouds are by their 
very nature transient, and above and behind them all 
the mighty sun, which will at last dissipate them, is 
always shining, so that the old saying is justified that 
all things, even the most unlikely-looking, are in reality 
working together for good. 

This much at least all who have made any real prog- 
ress knoiv for themselves as an absolute certainty; 
while they cannot hope to prove it to those who have 
not as yet had the experience, at least they can bear 
testimony to it with no uncertain voice, and that testi- 
mony is surely not without its value for souls who are 
still struggling towards the light. 

As to the second question, we may fairly point out 
that it assumes too much. It is not true to say that 
we are sent forth into wickedness and degradation. 
In fact, strictly speaking, we are not sent forth at all. 
What happens is something quite different. The LOGOS 


pours forth into manifestation the stream of force 
which we may describe as part of Himself or of His 
vesture. This stream contains in potentiality the vast 
hosts of monads, each of which, when fully developed, 
may itself become a Logos. But for such development 
it is necessary that it should manifest itself through 
matter of various grades, that the individuality should 
very slowly and gradually be built up, and then that 
certain latent qualities should be brought out. This 
is the process of evolution, and all the great laws of 
the universe are arranged to facilitate this process. 
In its earlier stages the manifestation of the monad 
is entirely controlled by these laws, not having yet 
developed any sort of individuality or soul of its own. 

But there comes a stage in which individuality is 
attained, and will is beginning to be developed. The 
plan of the Logos is to allow a man a certain amount 
of freedom (at first a very small amount) in the use 
of this dawning will, and naturally enough by the law 
of averages this primitive individual uses his will about 
as often wrongly as rightly, although he has almost 
always teachers belonging to earlier evolutions, who 
tell him the way in which he should walk. When he 
uses his will wrongly (that is to say, in a direction 
opposed to the current of evolution) the mechanical 
working of nature's laws brings suffering as the result 
of such action. Since this happens over and over again, 
the primitive ego at last learns by experience that he 
must obey the wiser teaching given to him, and as soon 
as the determination to do so has become actually a 
part of himself a wider field of freedom of action opens 
before him. 

In this new field in turn he is sure to act wrongly 
sometimes as well as rightly, so that the same process 
is repeated again and again, always involving suffer- 


ing where mistakes have been made. Whatever of 
"wickedness and degradation" may exist is always the 
result of the action of men who have used their free- 
will wrongly, and are in process of learning how to use 
it rightly, and as soon as that lesson shall have been 
universally learned all these evil effects will pass away. 
It is therefore obvious that whatever of evil exists in 
the world is entirely the doing of its inhabitants, and 
is in its nature temporary. However terrible and 
deeply rooted it may seem to us, it cannot possibly be 
permanent, for it is of the essence of things that it must 
pass away when its causes are removed. For its exist- 
ence while it lasts we must blame, not the great First 
Cause, but ourselves, because we are failing to carry 
out His plan. 

We often exhort people to follow the higher course 
rather than the lower, but I think that the truth is that 
a man always follows the highest about which he is 
really certain. The difficulty is that in so many cases 
the higher teaching seems vague and unreal to many 
people, and so although they profess to believe it, and 
really think that they do believe it, when it comes to 
the point of action they find it too vague to trust their 
lives to it. 

For example, many people who think themselves re- 
ligious are yet to be found seeking position and wealth. 
That attitude would be entirely reasonable if they 
were materialists and if they did not pretend to be- 
lieve, in anything higher ; but when we find a religious 
man devoted to the pursuit of worldly objects there 
is clearly something wrong, something illogical. The 
fact is that he does not really believe in his religion ; 
he is not thoroughly convinced of its truth, for if he 
were he could not be following after other things. He 
is following that about which he is really sure; he is 


quite certain, without the slightest mental reservation, 
about the desirability of money and power. He knows 
that he wants these things, and he thinks he knows 
that if he gets them they will make him happy. There- 
fore he devotes all his energy and time to their acquisi- 
tion, and we must remember that in doing that he is 
at least developing will and perseverance. 

Now if you can in any way manage to make him as 
sure of the value of the higher things as he is now 
about the value of pounds, shillings and pence, he will 
at once turn that will and that perseverance to the 
service of the higher development, and he will seek 
after realities with just the same intensity that he is 
now devoting to the pursuit of shadows. This is pre- 
cisely what the study of Theosophy will do for him. 
A man who thoroughly understands Theosophy knows 
that he is here for a certain purpose, and that it is most 
emphatically his business to devote himself entirely 
to the working out of that purpose. He realizes thor- 
oughly that there are things worth doing and aims 
worth pursuing, and he devotes himself to them with 
the same avidity which he previously displayed in fol- 
lowing the acquisition of money or position. 

But in order to do this it is not sufficient merely to 
be vaguely interested, merely to read a few books. The 
man must really believe it, must be thoroughly and 
utterly convinced of its truth. Now the only way in 
which this utter conviction can come to a man is by 
means of realizing some part of it, however small, for 
himself and at first-hand. Without going so far as 
that, of course, a man may be intellectually convinced 
of the truth of the doctrine, and may see that nothing 
else is logically possible; but there are very few of 
us who have the strength to act upon such a logical 
conviction about things entirely beyond our ken; for 


most of us it is really necessary that at least some small 
portion of the doctrine, some sample of it, as it were, 
should be definitely seen and known. 

We who were the earlier students felt all this just 
as keenly as do the students of to-day, and when in 
those early days of twenty-five or twenty-seven years 
ago we asked Madame Blavatsky whether it was in 
any way possible that we could verify any of these 
things for ourselves she at once replied in the affirma- 
tive. She told us that if we chose to take the trouble 
to develop the requisite faculties we might unquestion- 
ably experience for ourselves the truth of a great deal 
of the teaching. She warned us that the way was long 
and arduous, and that no one could tell beforehand 
how long it would take for a man to tread it. But on 
the other hand she consoled us by saying that the end 
was absolutely certain, and that it was impossible that 
any man who started to reach it should fail to attain, 
though in many cases such attainment might lie, not 
in this life, but in some other in the future. 

This was encouraging in one way, and yet somewhat 
daunting in another way; but at any rate a certain 
number of us took her at her word and threw ourselves 
heart and soul into the endeavour to live the life which 
was prescribed for us, and to do the work that lay be- 
fore us. The degrees of our success were very varied, 
but of all of those who made this effort and persevered 
with it I think I may say that there was not one who 
did not obtain some result — enough at any rate to 
show him that what he had been told was true, and 
that if the progress which he made was smaller than 
he had hoped, the fault lay clearly with himself and not 
with the teachers. 

There were those among us, however, who succeeded 
in verifying for ourselves a large number of the state- 


ments made by the Masters — first of all only in a small 
way, with regard to ourselves, our vehicles, our possi- 
bilities, and with regard to the astral life which im- 
mediately surrounds us. Then later on by long contin- 
ued and more strenuous effort we developed the facul- 
ties of the mental body, and began for the first time 
really to understand what had been written for us 
about the life of the heaven-world. All this at first we 
had hopelessly misunderstood, because with the facul- 
ties then at our disposal we were actually incapable 
of comprehending it. By a strenuous further effort we 
reached the faculties of the causal body, and then the 
world of comparative realities began really to open 
before us. 

We were able then to read the records of the past, and 
to see from them with absolute certainty how the great 
scheme of the Logos is slowly unfolding itself and 
working itself out by means of successive births under 
the guidance of the great laws of evolution and cause 
and effect. We could see clearly then that we were 
unquestionably ourselves a part of this great scheme, 
and therefore it followed that it was alike our duty, 
our advantage, our privilege, to throw ourselves into 
the scheme and co-operate intelligently in its fulfill- 
ment. There was then no doubt for us about the fact 
of the great evolution and the future of humanity, for 
it was clear to us that we had risen through the lower 
kingdoms, and we could see many stages both below us 
and above us ; all the various stages of human life ar- 
ranged themselves for us as steps upon a ladder; we 
could see these steps stretching up and down from the 
point which we ourselves occupied, and there were be- 
ings upon every rung of that ladder, beings who were 
clearly engaged in climbing it. 

The Masters who seemed to us to stand at its sum- 


mit assured us that They were men like ourselves, and 
that They had passed through the stage where we were 
now standing; between us and Them there was no 
break in the continuity, for every step of the ladder 
was occupied, and we ourselves watched the progress 
of some of those higher than we from one of these steps 
to another. When through custom the wonderful light 
of the higher planes grew less dazzling to us, we were 
able to see that even beyond the stupendous level occu- 
pied by the Masters there arose still greater heights. 
Above Them stood Manus, Christs, Buddhas, Lipika, 
great Devas, Dhyan Chohans, and many others of 
whom we can know nothing except that They exist, 
and that They, even at Their ineffable elevation, form 
part of the same mighty chain. 

The whole of the past lies before us; we know the 
halting-places on the road, and the side-paths that 
branch off from it, and therefore we are justified in 
our confidence that where these great ones now stand 
we also shall one day stand. Seeing and understand- 
ing the inevitableness of our destiny, we also realize 
that it will be quite useless to endeavour to resist it. 
Progress is the law marked out for us. In progress 
only is our happiness and our safety. As regards the 
progress that lies before us in this particular chain 
of worlds the great majority of us are by no means 
yet what is technically called "safe" or "saved." We 
reach that desirable position only when we have be- 
come members of the Great Brotherhood which lasts 
from eternity to eternity, by passing the first of the 
great initiations, that of the Sotapatti or Srotapanna, 
the man who enters upon the stream. 

To have taken that step is to have achieved the most 
important result, to have passed the most critical point 
in the whole of human evolution. For in the course 


of that evolution three points stand out beyond all 
others. The first is the entrance upon humanity, the 
attainment of individuality, the gaining of a causal 
body, the becoming a definite and apparently separate 
ego. To gain this individuality was the aim of the 
animal evolution, and its development serves a very 
definite purpose. The object is to make a strong in- 
dividual centre, through which eventually the force of 
the Logos can be poured out. When this centre is first 
formed it is only a baby ego, still but weak and un- 
certain ; in order that it may become strong and defin- 
ite it has to be fenced round by the intense selfishness 
of the savage. For many lives a strong wall of sel- 
fishness has to be maintained, in order that within it 
the centre may grow more and more definite. 

We may regard this selfishness as a kind of scaffold- 
ing, which is absolutely necessary for the erection of 
the building, but must be destroyed as soon as the 
building is completed, in order that it may be able to 
subserve the purpose for which it was erected. The 
scaffolding is unbeautiful, and if it were left after the 
building is finished it would make it uninhabitable, 
and yet without it the building could not have been 
achieved. The object of the creation of the centre is 
that through it the force of the Logos should radiate 
out upon the world, and such radiation would be quite 
impossible if the selfishness persisted, and yet without 
that selfishness a strong centre could never have been 
made. We see therefore that this most unlovely of 
qualities has its place in evolution. Now for us its 
work is over, and we ought to have got rid of it. But 
it is useless to be angry with the ordinary man for 
his selfishness, since it simply means that what was 
in the savage a necessary virtue is still persisting into 
the civilized condition. In point of fact the selfish man 


is an anachronism, a survival of prehistoric savagery. 
He is hopelessly behind the times. 

How then is such a man to make himself unselfish, 
to bring himself abreast of the advancing current of 
evolution? The methods adopted by nature to secure 
this end are many and various, but they are all funda- 
mentally one. For what is necessary is that the man 
shall realize the unity of all. And often he does this 
by gradually enlarging the self of which he thinks. 
Instead of thinking of himself as the unit he begins 
to regard the family as the unit for which he is work- 
ing, and within its limits he gradually becomes unsel- 
fish. Presently he expands his ideas to include the 
tribe or clan to which he belongs, and he learns to be 
unselfish within its limits, while still absolutely selfish 
and even predatory to all who are outside it, whom 
he usually regards as natural enemies. Later on in his 
history he extends his ideas so as to include, in cer- 
tain respects at least, the nation to which he belongs. 

It is somewhere in the course of that stage of tran- 
sition that the majority of humanity stand at the pres- 
ent moment. In almost all minor matters the ordinary 
man is still fighting for his family against the interests 
of all other families, but in a few wider matters he 
recognizes that his interests are identical with those 
of those other families, and so in those matters he de- 
velops what he calls patriotism and national feeling; 
but even in those matters he is still absolutely selfish 
as regards all those other families who happen to speak 
different languages and to be born in different climes. 
At some time in the future the average man will ex- 
tend his ideas of self to include the whole of humanity, 
and then at last we may say that he has become by 
slow degrees unselfish. 

While he is thus learning to take a wider view of his 


relation to others, he is also learning something with 
regard to himself. First he realizes that he is not his 
physical body, later that he is not his feelings, and fur- 
ther on still that he is not even his mind. This brings 
him eventually to the realization that he is the ego or 
soul, and still later on he realizes that even that ego 
is only apparently separate, and that there is in reality 
but one transcendant unity. 

Thus the man treads the weary round of the seven 
hundred and seventy-seven incarnations, a time of slow 
and painful progress and of harrowing uncertainty, 
but at last after all those struggles the uncertainty 
ends with that plunge into the stream that makes the 
man safe forever, and so that is the second and still 
more important point in his evolution. But before he 
can take this step the man must have learned con- 
sciously to co-operate with nature, he must definitely 
have taken his own evolution in hand. The knowledge 
of the unity which makes him unselfish also makes 
him desire to be useful, for it gives him an incentive 
to study and to perfect himself — a reason for his ac- 
tions and a criterion by which he can judge the feel- 
ings and thoughts within him, and also the value of all 
with which he comes into contact. 

How then must he begin this work of perfecting 
himself? Obviously he must first pull up the weeds, 
that is to say he must eliminate one by one the un- 
desirable qualities which he finds in himself; then he 
must seek the good qualities and cultivate them. He 
must definitely set himself to practise helpfulness, even 
although at first he may be very clumsy in the unac- 
customed work. The formation of character is very 
slow and tedious for him, for there are many forces 
arrayed against his efforts, forces which he himself 
has made in the past. He has for many years been 


yielding himself to the sway of certain undesirable 
qualities, and so they have gained a great momentum. 

Take the case of such a vice as irritability, for ex- 
ample. He has in the past been in the habit of yield- 
ing himself to outbursts of anger, and every such out- 
burst makes it more difficult for him to control him- 
self on the next occasion; so a strong habit has been 
set up, a vast amount of energy moving in that direc- 
tion has been accumulated. This is stored up, not in 
the ego as an inherent quality, but in the permanent 
astral atom; and when he realizes the inadvisability 
of anger and sets himself against it he has to meet this 
store of force which he himself has generated during 
many past lives. Naturally he finds his task a diffi- 
cult one, and he meets with many failures and dis- 
couragements ; but the important thing for him to bear 
in mind is that however many times he may fail, vic- 
tory is absolutely a scientific certainty, if only he will 

However great the amount of force may be which 
he has stored up, it must be a finite amount, and every 
effort which he makes against it reduces it by just so 
much. But on his side there is a force which is infin- 
ite; if only his will is strong enough he can go on, if 
necessary through many lives, steadily renewing the 
force for good with which he combats the evil, and 
behind him in that effort is the infinite force of the 
Logos Himself, because that evolution is in accordance 
with His will. Until the man grasps the idea of unity 
he has no adequate motive for undertaking the hard 
and distasteful work of character-building, but when 
he has seen the necessity of this, the reason for try- 
ing is just as valid even though he has failed a thou- 
sand times as it was in the beginning. No number 
of failures can daunt the man who understands the 


scheme, just because he knows that however great the 
struggle may be the forces of infinity are on his side, 
and therefore in the end he cannot fail. 

To be certain of remembering this purpose of his 
from life to life he should raise his consciousness to 
the ego; but during the stages when he is as yet in- 
capable of this he will nevertheless impress that pur- 
pose upon the permanent atoms, and so it will be car- 
ried over with them from life to life. If the ego can 
be reached, the man will be born with the knowledge 
inherent in him; if he can only impress the perma- 
nent atoms, the knowledge will not actually be born 
with him as part of his stock-in-trade, but the moment 
that it comes before him in any form in his next in- 
carnation he will immediately recognize its truth, seize 
upon it, and act accordingly. This steady practice of 
virtue and this persistent increase of knowledge will 
certainly lead him to the gate of the probationary path, 
and through that to the great initiation of which we 
have spoken. 

After that initiation the third point is sure to fol- 
low — the gaining of the further shore of that stream, 
in the attainment of adeptship, when the man leaves 
the merely human evolution and enters upon that which 
is superhuman. We are told that after a man has en- 
tered upon the stream it takes him an average of seven 
incarnations to reach the fourth step, that of the arhat, 
the noble, the venerable, the perfect. That period is 
more often lengthened than shortened, and the lives 
are usually taken without an intervening stage in the 
heaven-world. Ordinarily it is only men of this stage 
who are able thus to dispense with or renounce the life 
of the heaven-world. 

At the same time those who are so happy as to be 
chosen to take part in the noble task for which the 


great Masters are preparing us, that of working under 
the Manu in charge of the development of the sixth 
root-race, will certainly need many successive incarna- 
tions without any intervening periods of celestial rest. 
The possibility of this is however conditioned by the 
rule that a man must have experienced celestial con- 
sciousness before he can renounce the heaven-life ; and 
furthermore it is not in the least merely a question of 
voluntarily renouncing a reward, but of being suffi- 
ciently advanced to dispense for a time with that part 
of evolution which for the majority comes most usually 
in the heaven-life. 

When he stands upon the step of arhatship half his 
path from the first initiation to adeptship may be said 
to have been trodden, for he has then cast off five of 
the ten great fetters which hold men back from nir- 
vana. Before him lies the task of casting off the re- 
maining five, and for that also an average of seven in- 
carnations is allowed, but it must be understood that 
this average is in no sense a rule, for many men take 
much longer than this, whereas others with greater de- 
termination and perseverance move through these in- 
itiations in very much less time. A case has been 
known in which, by beginning very early in life, and 
by working very hard, a man has been able to take 
all four of the great initiations in one incarnation, but 
this is excessively rare, and not one in ten thousand 
candidates could do it. 

It will be remembered that to stand at the level of 
the arhat involves the power fully to use the buddhic 
vehicle, and it will also be remembered that when a 
man raises himself into his buddhic body the causal 
body vanishes, and he is under no compulsion whatever 
ever to re-form it. Clearly therefore the seven lives 
which remain to him before he reaches the level of 


adeptship need not involve a descent to the physical 
plane at all, and therefore they may not be what we 
ordinarily mean by incarnations. Nevertheless in the 
great majority of cases they are taken upon the physi- 
cal plane, because the man has work to do upon that 
plane for the Great Brotherhood. 

The candidate spends these fourteen lives in pass- 
ing through the different stages of the Path of Holi- 
ness, and in acquiring all the qualifications which are 
described in detail in the concluding chapters of Invis- 
ible Helpers. One who becomes a disciple of one of 
our Masters takes always, not the path to selfish libera- 
tion — the mere balancing of good and evil karma and 
the vanishing of all desire, so that the man is no longer 
forced back into rebirth — but the path of renunciation 
in which, having seen the scheme of the Logos, the man 
throws himself into it and lives only to promote the 
advancement of his fellow-men. 

This has been called "The Path of Woe" because of 
the constant self-sacrifice which it involves, but in truth 
this title is somewhat of a misnomer, because although 
it is true that there is suffering, it is always a suffer- 
ing of the lower and not of the higher, and if the man 
should avoid such suffering by supineness or idleness, 
and leave undone the work which he might have done, 
there would assuredly be much greater suffering for 
him at a far higher level, in the shape of remorse. 
Such suffering as is inevitable in this path arises from 
the fact that the student is striving to do here and now 
in the fourth round what will be natural and easy in 
the seventh round. All our vehicles then will be much 
more developed, and even the very material of which 
they are built will be in an entirely different condi- 
tion, because the physical atom will then have all its 
seven spirillae active instead of only four of them. 


Therefore to force our present undeveloped vehicles 
to do work which will be comparatively easy for those 
which in millions of years will be fully developed, in- 
volves a great deal of strain, and this strain is neces- 
sarily productive of a certain amount of suffering. 

It is analogous to the suffering and privation which 
is cheerfully undergone by an athlete when he puts 
himself in training. If he wishes to compete in some 
great race or trial of strength, he must make his phy- 
sical body do more than it would naturally do, and deny 
it many things which it greatly likes, the absence of 
which unquestionably causes it considerable discom- 
fort, and perhaps even somewhat of positive suffering. 
Yet for the purpose which he has in view the athlete 
quite cheerfully undergoes this ; indeed if, for the sake 
of avoiding these comparatively slight temporary dis- 
comforts, he should put aside the opportunity of tak- 
ing part in the race or contest, it is quite likely that 
afterwards when he saw his comrades passing onward 
to victory he would feel a remorse for that self-indul- 
gence, which would involve keener suffering on a higher 
plane. The analogy holds good in reference to the 
efforts necessary to progress along the path of renun- 
ciation ; the man who fell aside from that path because 
of its difficulties and hardships would undoubtedly suf- 
fer far more in the long run from remorse when he 
saw those of his fellow-creatures going unhelped whom 
he might have aided, when he saw misery among them 
which he knew that he might have relieved if he had 
been less self-indulgent. 

There is never any pain to the Self, but only to these 
lower vehicles, when they are being prematurely 
adapted. A good analogy may be taken from the growth 
of crabs and other crustaceans. These creatures have 
their bones outside for protection, in the form of a 


shell, while our bones are inside, in the form of a skele- 
ton. A fatal objection to the crustacean scheme is 
that when the creature grows it has to burst the shell 
"and then wait for another one to grow, which must be 
both a painful and inconvenient process. So in the 
process of our growth do we make about ourselves 
shells of thought, as though we were mental crusta- 
ceans. Presently the shell becomes too small, and then 
we make a long series of efforts to crowd the new 
growth inside it and make it do somehow; but in the 
end this always proves impossible, and we have pain- 
fully to burst it. This however is inevitable, so chafe 
not at karma and at nature's changeless laws, for you 
made the shell yourself in the past, and now you your- 
self must break it. But if you did not go to the incon- 
venience of breaking it, you would suffer far more in 
the unsatisfied feeling that no progress had been made. 

Many people are afraid of change, especially of a 
change of faith, and this arises not only from inherited 
prejudice, but also from actual fear of doubt — fear 
that if one once lets go one may be unable to find men- 
tal anchorage anywhere. Many a man is quite unable 
to make rational defence of his belief, or to answer 
the problems which inevitably arise in connection with 
it, and yet he is afraid to let it go. Sooner or later 
he will have to let go, though the widening out of his 
faith is sure to be accompanied by pain. Truly there 
would be no suffering for us if we never broke our 
shells, but then on the other hand there would be no 

The life of the disciple is full of joy — never doubt it 
for an instant. But it is not a life of ease. The work 
which he has to do is very hard, the struggle is a very 
real one. To compress into a few short lives the evo- 
lution of millions of years — the evolution for which the 


ordinary process of nature allows three rounds and a 
half — is not a mere holiday task. Our President has 
written : "Disciples are the crucibles of nature, where- 
in compounds that are mischievous are dissociated and 
are recombined into compounds that promote the gen- 
eral good." 

It is not necessary for any one to become such a 
crucible; perhaps it would be nearer the fact to say 
that to become one is a distinction eagerly sought after ; 
nearer still to say that when once a man has seen the 
great sacrifice of the Logos there is no other possibility 
for him but to throw himself into it — to do his tiny 
best to share in it and to help it at whatever cost to 
his lower nature. And this is no child's play; it does 
indeed involve often a terrible strain. But an earn- 
est student will be able to realize that a man may so 
love his work, and may be so full of joy in it, that out- 
side of it there can be no pleasure worth considering, 
even though that work may tax almost beyond bearing 
every faculty and every vehicle — physical, astral or 
mental — which he possesses. 

It must be remembered that when humanity in gen- 
eral has this work to do and this evolution to accom- 
plish, it will be far better fitted for the effort than is 
the man who is trying now to take a shorter and steeper 
road. Many of his difficulties are due to the fact that 
he is attempting with a set of fourth-round bodies to 
achieve the result for the attainment of which nature 
will prepare her less adventurous children by supply- 
ing them in the course of the ages with the splendid 
vehicles of the seventh round. Of course even to gain 
those glorified vehicles these weaker souls will have 
to do the same work ; but when it is spread over thou- 
sands of incarnations it naturally looks less formidable. 

Yet beyond and above all his struggle the pupil has 


ever an abiding joy, a peace and serenity that nothing 
on earth can disturb. If he had not, he would indeed 
be a faithless servant of his Master, for he would be 
allowing the temporary strain on the vehicles to over- 
bear his perception of the Self within; he would be 
identifying himself with the lower instead of with the 

There is therefore a certain element of the ridicu- 
lous in describing this Path as one of woe, when it is 
clearly evident that there would be much greater woe 
for the candidate if this Path were not taken. Indeed, 
to the man who is really doing his duty true sorrow 
is unknown : "Never doth any who worketh righteous- 
ness, beloved, tread the path of woe." (Bhagavad- 
Gita, vi. 40.) 

This is as regards the inner life of the disciple, but 
if one is to consider the treatment which he is likely 
to receive on the physical plane, the name of the path 
of woe is by no means inappropriate, at least if he has 
to do any sort of public work in which he tries to help 
the world. Ruysbroek, the Flemish mystic of the four- 
teenth century, writes of those who enter upon the 
Path: "Sometimes these unhappy ones are deprived 
of the good things of earth, of their friends and rela- 
tions, and are deserted by all creatures ; their holiness 
is mistrusted and despised, men put a bad construction 
on all the works of their life, and they are rejected 
and disdained by all those who surround them; and 
sometimes they are afflicted with divers diseases." Re- 
member, too, how Madame Blavatsky writes : "Where 
do we find in history that 'Messenger' grand or humble, 
an Initiate or Neophyte, who, when he was made the 
bearer of some hitherto concealed truth or truths, was 
not crucified and rent to shreds by the 'dogs' of envy, 
malice and ignorance? Such is the terrible Occult law ; 


and he who does not feel in himself the heart of a lion 
to scorn the savage barking, and the soul of a dove 
to forgive the poor ignorant fools, let him give up the 
Sacred Science." {The Secret Doctrine, iii. 90.) 

The way in which the world usually treats a new 
truth is first to ridicule it, then to grow angry about it, 
and then to adopt it and pretend that it has always 
held that view. In the meantime the first exponent 
of the new truth has probably been put to death or died 
of a broken heart. 

It is in the course of the training on this Path that 
the consciousness of the candidate passes through the 
three halls mentioned in The Voice of the Silence. This 
term is used there to indicate the three lower planes. 
The first, that of ignorance, is the physical plane, upon 
which we are born to live and die, and it is very truly 
described as a Hall of Ignorance, for all that we know 
in it is the merest outside of things. The second, the 
Hall of learning, is the astral plane, which is very truly 
the place of probationary learning, for when the astral 
centres are opened we see so much more of everything 
than we do on the physical plane that at first it seems 
to us that we must indeed be seeing the whole, though 
further development soon shows us that this is not so. 

But The Voice of the Silence warns us that beneath 
each flower in this region, however beautiful it may 
be, lies coiled the serpent of desire — that lower desire 
which the aspirant must stifle in order that he may de- 
velop in its place the higher desire which we call as- 
piration. In the case of affection, for example, the 
lower, the selfish, the grasping affection must be alto- 
gether transcended, but the high, pure, and unselfish 
affection can never be transcended, since that is a char- 
acteristic of the Logos Himself, and a necessary quali- 
fication for progress upon the Path. What men should 


cast aside is such love as thinks always "How much 
love can I gain? How much does so and so love me? 
Does he love me as he loves some one else?" The love 
which we need is that which forgets itself altogether, 
and seeks only the occasion to pour itself out at the feet 
of the loved one. 

The astral plane is often called the world of illusion, 
yet it is at least one stage, and a very long stage, nearer 
to the truth of things than what we see on the physical 
plane. It often happens that men are easily deluded 
upon the astral plane, because they are as yet much 
in the position of babies there, new-born infants with 
no sense of distance and no developed capacity for 
locomotion. We must not forget that in the normal 
course of things people very slowly awaken to the reali- 
ties of the astral plane, just as a baby awakens to the 
realities of the physical plane. But those of us who 
are deliberately and, as it were, prematurely entering 
upon the Path are developing such knowledge abnor- 
mally, and are consequently more liable to error. 

Danger and injury might easily come in the course of 
our experiments but for the fact that all pupils who 
under proper training are endeavouring to open these 
faculties are assisted and guided by those who are al- 
ready accustomed to the plane. That is the reason for 
the various tests which are always applied to one who 
wishes to become a worker on the higher planes ; that is 
why also all sorts of horrible sights are shown to the 
neophyte, in order that he may understand them and be- 
come accustomed to them. If this were not done, and 
if he came across such a thing suddenly, he might re- 
ceive a shock which would drive him back into his phy- 
sical body, and this would not only prevent his doing 
any useful work, but might also be a positive danger 
to that body. Where the neophyte is deluded on the 


astral plane it is his own fault, and not that of the 
plane, because error is due only to his unfamiliarity 
with the surroundings. 

The third hall is the mental plane — the Hall of Wis- 
dom. As soon as a man is free from attachment to 
astral things he can pass beyond the probationary stage 
of his learning, and begin to acquire knowledge which 
is real and definite. Beyond that in turn lies the im- 
perishable world of the buddhic plane, in which for 
the first time the man learns the true unity of all that 
to the lower vision seems to be separate. 

It has been said, "Thou canst not travel on the Path 
before thou hast become that Path itself." As long 
as it is but a Path to us, and we are following it ac- 
cording to directions received, or because we have seen 
it and chosen it with the intellect only, we have not 
truly entered it at all. This is only a stage, leading 
on to the condition when you have become yourself the 
Law and the Path, and you fulfil its requirements, in- 
stinctively doing the right merely because it is the 
right, and because it is inconceivable that you could do 
anything else. Then only you have become the 

A man cannot climb if he does not try; though if 
he does not climb it is true that he will not fall far. 
The strong man often makes serious errors; but the 
very force which enables him to make them also en- 
ables him to make great progress when he turns his 
energies in the right direction. Rapid progress affects 
the whole organism and is a great strain upon it, and 
this inevitably finds out whatever weak spots there are 
in the man. The plans of the Hierarchy will be car- 
ried out whatever we may or may not do, for we are 
but as pawns in the mighty game which is being 
played ; but if we are intelligent pawns, and are will- 


ing to co-operate, it gives much less trouble to the au- 
thorities, and incidentally to ourselves. 

And what will be the end of it all? The attainment 
of perfection. Yet even that is only relatively and 
not absolutely the end, for when we have reached in 
fullest consciousness the Logos of our system and 
have unified our consciousness with His, there still re- 
mains the further Path which leads us to union with 
still higher Powers. A great authority has told us that 
at the end of one of the stages of evolution far beyond 
adeptship the perfect man will be a decad, having a body 
upon each of the sub-planes of the lowest cosmic plane, 
the triple Logos outside of time and space constituting 
his Self, and thus completing the ten. But this con- 
summation can only be reached when the man has 
power to create a body for himself upon each of these 

We have been led to understand that of the total 
number of egos which are engaged in this evolution 
about one-fifth will fully succeed — that is to say will 
succeed in attaining the asekha level before the end of 
the seventh round. Another fifth will by that time, 
have gained the arhat level, and about an equal num- 
ber will be on the lower stages of the Path, while a 
number roughly stated as the remaining two-fifths 
will have dropped out of this evolution altogether 
at the critical period at the middle of the fifth 

All those who have not fully attained the goal, and 
completed their evolution, will have to resume it upon 
the next chain of globes, and even those who are the 
failures of the fifth round will be successes in the next 
chain. In the same way it is not improbable that some 
of those who are adepts and Masters now may have 
been among the failures of the moon-chain — that is to 


say, that They belonged to the humanity of that chain, 
but were somewhat backward upon it, and so dropped 
out there, and came on in the fore-front of this later 
evolution, exactly as a boy who failed to pass an exam- 
ination one year would be likely to be among the first 
of his class when he tries the same examination again 
twelve months later. 

Remember that we are now only just past the mid- 
dle of an evolutionary period, and that is why so very 
few people comparatively have as yet attained adept- 
ship, just as very few boys in a class would be already 
fit to pass the final examination of the year after only 
six months of study. In precisely the same way very 
few animals are as yet attaining individuality, for the 
animal who attains individuality is as far in advance 
of his fellows as is the human being who attains adept- 
ship in advance of the average man. Both are doing 
at the middle point of evolution what they are ex- 
pected to be able to do only at the end of it. Those who 
achieve only at the normal time, at the end of the sev- 
enth round, will approach their goal so gradually that 
there will be little or no struggle. 

Undoubtedly to attain in that way is very far easier 
for the candidate. But that method has the tremen- 
dous drawback that the man who attains by it will not 
have been able to give any help to others, but will on 
the contrary have required assistance himself. I re- 
member from the days of my childhood a Christian 
hymn which gave this idea very beautifully. It de- 
scribed how a certain soul went to heaven and enjoyed 
its bliss, and wandered about there very happily for 
a time, but at last he noticed that the crown which 
he wore differed much in splendor from many of the 
others, and for a long time he wondered why this was 
so. At last he met the Christ Himself and mustered 


up courage to ask Him the reason of this peculiarity; 
and the answer given ran thus: 

I know thou hast believed on Me, 

And Life through Me is thine ; 
But where are all those glorious gems 

That in thy crown should shine? 
Thou seest yonder glorious throng 

With stars on every brow, 
For every soul they led to Me 

They wear a jewel now. 

"They that are wise shall shine as the brightness of 
the firmament, but they that turn many to righteous- 
ness as the stars for ever and ever." 

When we are struggling onwards ourselves we can 
help others, and we should do all that we can in this 
direction, not because of the result to ourselves (though 
that is inevitable) but for the sake of helping the world. 
The man who drifts with the stream has to be carried 
along, but when he begins to swim himself he sets free 
the force that would otherwise have been spent in help- 
ing him. That can then be used for the helping of 
others, quite independently of what he himself may 
do in that line. 

Adeptship sets the man free from the necessity of 
rebirth, and its achievement also involves the libera- 
tion of forces for the aid of others. The man who seeks 
liberation only for himself may balance his karma per- 
fectly and may kill out desire, so that the law of karma 
will not longer compel him to rebirth. But though he 
thus avoids the action of the law of karma he does 
not escape from the law of evolution. It may be long 
before he comes under the influence of that law, be- 
cause by the hypothesis a man who has already at this 
stage set himself free from all desire must be consid- 


erably in advance of the average. There will however 
inevitably come a time when the slow and steady ad- 
vance of the law of evolution will overtake him, and 
then its resistless pressure will force him out of his 
selfish bliss into rebirth once more, and so he will find 
himself again upon the wheel from which he had hoped 
to escape. 

It has often been asked how the secrets revealed at 
initiation are protected from those who are able to read 
thoughts. There is not the slightest danger that any 
of these secrets will ever be disclosed in this manner, 
for at the same time that the secret is told to the in- 
itiate the means by which he can guard it is also ex- 
plained to him. If it could be possible that an initiate 
could ever be so false as to think of betraying what 
has been confided to him, even then there would be no 
danger, for he is in such close touch with the Brother- 
hood of which he is a part that they would at once know 
of his foul intention, and before he could speak the 
treacherous words he would have forgotten utterly that 
there was anything to betray. There is nothing that 
is in any way terrible about these secrets, except that 
the power which goes with them might well be ter- 
rible if wrongly used. Initiates always know one an- 
other, much in the same way as free-masons do; and, 
just as with the latter, any initiate could hide his status 
from those below him, but not from those above him. 

However sorely the Brotherhood may be in need of 
helpers no man can receive initiation until his char- 
acter is developed to a stage when he is ready for it, 
and in exactly the same way if a man has raised him- 
self to the level of initiation there is no power which 
can withhold it from him. It may very often happen, 
however, that a man is ready in every respect, save 
for a lack of some one quality ; and that lack may hold 


him back for a very long time, which would probably 
mean that by the time he acquired the missing quality 
he would in all other respects be developed in advance 
of the requirements. So it must not be supposed that 
all initiates standing upon the same level are invari- 
ably equal in all respects. What the world calls a 
great man is not necessarily developed all round and 
fit for initiation. Anything in the nature of favour- 
itism or neglect is utterly inconceivable. In this mat- 
ter no man can give to another that which he has not 
earned, nor can any man withhold the due recognition 
of development won. 

The Ancient Mysteries 

What I can tell you with regard to the ancient mys- 
teries is not derived from any special study of old 
manuscripts, or of the history of this subject. It hap- 
pened to me in another life to be born in ancient 
Greece, and to become initiated there into some of the 
mysteries. Now a man who was initiated in this way 
in Greece gave a pledge not to reveal what he had seen, 
and this pledge is binding, even though it was given 
in a former incarnation ; but Those who stood behind 
those mysteries have since thought fit to give out to 
the world much of what was then taught only under 
the vow of secrecy, and so They have relieved us from 
our promise as far as those teachings go. Therefore 
I break no pledge when I tell you something about the 
instructions which were given in those ancient mys- 
teries. Other subjects were taught, however, which I 
am not at liberty to name, because they have not yet 
been made public by the Great Ones. 


In the first place, I should like to ask you to notice 
that all peoples and all religions have had their mys- 
teries, including the Christian religion. I have often 
heard people say that in the Christian religion, at least, 
nothing was hidden : that everything was open for the 
study of the poor and the unlearned. Any one who 
says that does not know the history of the Christian 
Church. Now, indeed, everything the Church knows 
is given out, but that is only because it has forgotten 
the mysteries which it used to keep hidden. If you 
study the earliest history of the Church, you will find 
that old writers speak very distinctly of the mysteries, 
which were taught only to those who were full mem- 
bers of the Church. There were many points on which 
nothing was said to those who were only "katechou- 
menoi," who had just entered the Church, but were 
still candidates for full membership. 

Traces of this we can find still earlier, for you will 
remember that it is said in the Gospels that the Christ 
made known to His disciples many things which He 
gave to the multitude only in parables. 

But one of the reasons of the failure of the Christian 
Church to control her more intellectual sons, as she 
should have done, is the fact that she has forgotten 
and lost the supernatural and philosophical mysteries 
which were the basis of her dogma. To see something 
of this hidden side of her teachings you have only to 
read the works of the great Gnostic writers. Then you 
will find that when we take this side as the inner doc- 
trine for the scholars, and the present form of the 
Christian religion as the outer doctrine for the illiter- 
ate, we get in the two combined a perfect expression 
of the ancient Wisdom. But to take either of these 
teachings by itself, and to condemn the other as heresy, 
gives us only a one-sided view. So every religion has 


instruction for those who do not get beyond its outer 
form, but has always also higher instruction for those 
who penetrate to the inner. 

However, when we speak of the ancient mysteries, 
we generally mean those which were connected with 
the great religion of ancient Greece. Only a few books 
exist on this subject. There is a book of Iamblichus, 
who was himself initiated into the mysteries, and there 
is a book written by a countryman of mine, Thomas 
Taylor, a Platonist, and also one by a Frenchman, Mon- 
sieur P. Foucart. Although they are very interest- 
ing, you will find that they give but little real informa- 
tion. Much that we think we know about the mys- 
teries (I mean from an external point of view) comes 
to us through the writings of their exponents. 

The Christian Church has had the habit — probably 
justifiable from her point of view — of destroying all 
books which stood for teachings other than her own, 
and we must not forget that almost all of our knowl- 
edge with regard to early Christian times comes to us 
through the hands of the monks of the middle ages. 
They were practically the only educated people of that 
time, and it was they who copied all the manuscripts. 
They had very pronounced opinions about what was 
useful and what was not; so very naturally only that 
part survived which agreed with their views, this be- 
ing reported with emphasis, while anything of oppo- 
site character w T as discarded. Above all, the greater 
part of the knowledge which is accessible to the general 
w r orld about the mysteries is found in the works of the 
Church Fathers, who were opposed to them. Without 
wishing to accuse the Fathers of having purposely mis- 
represented, we may certainly conclude that they tried 
to put forward their own view in the best and strong- 
est light. Even at the present day if you wished to 


know the whole truth concerning the doctrine of some 
Protestant sect, you would not go to Catholic priests 
for information; nor, if you wanted good and just ex- 
planations concerning Catholicism, would you go to the 
Salvation Army to get them. 

In regard to the mysteries we are in a similar situa- 
tion, only much worse, because of the many and bitter 
disputes between the followers of the old religion and 
its mysteries and the Fathers of the Christian Church. 
Therefore we may accept only with considerable re- 
serve and with great prudence what the Fathers say 
in regard to this subject. For example, you will find 
that they often maintain that the ancient mysteries 
contain much that is indecent and immoral. 

Because I have carefully searched clairvoyantly 
through the mysteries of Greece, and in a former in- 
carnation was myself an initiate of them, I can say 
with perfect certainty that there is not even a shadow 
of truth in those statements. There did exist certain 
mysteries with which were festivities and a form of 
Bacchus-worship, which degenerated later on into 
something very objectionable; but this was only in 
later times, and those mysteries belonged to quite an- 
other branch. They were not in the least related to 
the mysteries of Eleusis, but were only an imitation of 
them on a small scale, entirely exoteric. 

I have, this evening, to treat a very extensive sub- 
ject in a short time. I must try to give you a rough 
sketch of what those Greek mysteries were and what 
was taught to the initiates. 

The fact will be known to you that two divisions are 
always mentioned : the lesser and the greater mys- 
teries. Everybody knew that those existed, and the 
number of persons who were initiated was indeed quite 
a large proportion of the whole population. I think 


you may read in exoteric books of thirty thousand in- 
itiates gathering at one time, and this also shows that 
the fact that a man was initiated need not be kept se- 
cret, but that the outer world knew him as belonging 
to this numerous class. I mean that, although cer- 
tain teachings given in the mysteries were always kept 
secret, the whole Greek and Roman world knew that 
the greater and lesser mysteries existed, and more or 
less who belonged to each of them. 

But behind those two degrees, the existence of which 
was generally known, there were all the time the real 
secret mysteries ; and the existence of the third degree, 
as one might call it, was unknown to the public. If one 
thinks of the conditions of that time one can readily 
understand the reason for this. Most of the Roman 
Emperors, for example, knew of the existence of the 
lesser and greater mysteries, and insisted upon being 
initiated. Now we know very well from history that 
many of the Roman Emperors were hardly of the char- 
acter to be allowed to play a leading role in a religious 
body. But, all the same, it would have been very diffi- 
cult for the leaders of the mysteries to refuse entrance 
to an Emperor of Rome. As was once said, one cannot 
argue with the master of thirty legions. The emperors 
would certainly have killed anyone who stood in the 
way of anything they wished. Thus it was desirable 
that the existence of the third degree should not be 
known, and nobody knew that there was such a degree 
before he was deemed, by those who could judge, 
worthy to be admitted to it. 

The teachings of this third degree were never given 
to the public and never will be. But in the common 
mysteries, lesser and greater, are many things which 
can be told. In the first place, then, we were taught 
certain pithy sayings, or apophthegms, and if I quote 


you some of those you will understand the nature of 
the teaching. One of the best known was "Death is 
life, and life is death." This shows us that the higher 
life on the other side of death was well known. An- 
other saying was "He who seeks realities in this life 
shall also seek realities after death; and he who seeks 
unrealities in this life shall also seek unrealities after 
death." A great principle of their teaching was that 
the soul had descended . from the higher spheres to 
the material. The principles of reincarnation were 
also contained in their instruction. You will remem- 
ber that this did not appear in the external doctrine 
of the religions either of Greece or of Rome — that is 
to say, it was not taught publicly and in so many words 
— but you will find that this idea of the descent of the 
soul into matter is imparted in classic mythology. You 
will remember the myth of Proserpina, who was car- 
ried to the under-world while picking the flower of 
the narcissus. 

Let us recall the myth of Narcissus. He was a youth 
of great beauty who fell in love with his own image 
reflected in the water, and was therefore changed into 
a flower and bound to earth. You need not have studied 
much Theosophy to see what that means. We learn 
in The Secret Doctrine how the Ego looks down upon 
the waters of the astral plane and the lower world, 
how it reflects itself in the personality, how it identi- 
fies itself with the personality and, falling in love with 
its image, is bound to earth. So Proserpina, while 
picking the narcissus, is dragged away to the under- 
world, and afterwards passes half her life under the 
earth and half on the earth; that is, as you will see, 
half in a material body and half out of it. 

In the same way, there are numbers of other myths 
of which it is very interesting to hear the Theosophical 


explanation. For example, in this old mystery-teach- 
ing the minotaur was held to signify the lower nature 
in man — the personality which is half man and half 
animal. This was eventually slain by Theseus, who 
typifies the higher self or the individuality, which has 
been gradually growing and gathering strength until 
at last it can wield the sword of its Divine Father, the 
Spirit. Guided through the labyrinth of illusion which 
constitutes these lower planes by the thread of occult 
knowledge given him by Ariadne (who represents in- 
tuition) the higher self is enabled to slay the lower, 
and to escape safely from the web of illusion ; yet there 
still remains for him the danger that, developing in- 
tellectual pride, he may neglect intuition, even as The- 
seus neglected Ariadne, and so fail for this time to real- 
ize his highest possibilities. 

In ancient Greece the lesser mysteries were espe- 
cially celebrated in a little place called Agrae, and the 
initiates were called "mystae." Perhaps you know that 
their official dress, the token of their dignity, was the 
skin of a fawn, which in the old symbology represented 
the astral body. 

Its spotted appearance was thought to be emblematic 
of the many colours in an ordinary astral body. The 
reason why this was considered a fitting dress for those 
initiated into the lesser mysteries was because the prin- 
cipal teachings given in them concerned the astral 
plane. Those who were admitted learned what the 
astral life of man would be after death. 

Much time was spent in making clear by example 
as well as by teaching what would be the effect in the 
astral world of a certain mode of life on earth. In the 
first place they taught by illustrations, on an extensive 
scale by representations in the temples, by a kind of 
play or drama in which was shown what, in the astral 


world, would be the condition of a man who had been, 
let us say, avaricious or full of sensual desires. In the 
old days of the mysteries, when the leaders were adepts 
or pupils of adepts, these representations were some- 
thing like materializations. That is to say, the teacher, 
whoever he was, produced them by his own power out 
of astral or etheric matter, and created a real image for 
his pupils. But as time advanced, and later teachers 
were unable to bring about this phenomenon, they tried 
to represent these teachings in other ways — in some 
cases by what we should call acting. Members of the 
priesthood took the roles of different persons, while 
in other cases puppets were moved by machinery. 

In addition to the teaching concerning the astral 
plane, instructions were also given in the same way as 
to the system of world-evolution. Among other things, 
pupils were taught how our solar system and its dif- 
ferent parts came into existence. You can easily see 
how that could be represented, first by materialized 
nebulae and globes, and how, when this materialization 
was no longer possible, the arrangement of different 
globes could be made clear by the use of what we now 
call an orrery — that is, a model of the solar system. 

One of the most important things connected with the 
mysteries was that they explained the outer religion 
of the people in quite another way than that given to 
the general public. If you know anything about the 
religion of ancient Greece, you will understand that 
there were many things which badly needed some inner 
explanation, for certainly their religion does not ap- 
pear to be very elevated or very reasonable when looked 
at from the ordinary standpoint. It seems to have 
been the object that all the stories which made up the 
outer teaching, many of which seem very extraor- 
dinary, should be learnt by the people and retained in 


their minds — just a few simple, clear conceptions, and 
nothing more. But all earnestminded people joined the 
mysteries, and learnt there the real meaning of the 
stories, which gave the whole thing quite another 

Let me give you an idea of what I mean, by two or 
three very simple and short examples. I told you that, 
for the most part, the aim of those lesser mysteries 
was to inform the pupils about the effects on the astral 
plane of a certain mode of life here on earth. You 
probably know the myth of Tantalus. He was a man 
condemned to suffer in hell eternal thirst, while water 
surrounded him on all sides, but receded from his lips 
as soon as he tried to drink. The meaning of this 
is not difficult to see, when once we know what the 
astral life is. Every one who leaves this world of ours 
full of sensual desires of any kind — as, for example, a 
drunkard, or some one who has given himself up to 
sensual living in the ordinary meaning of the word — 
such a man finds himself on the astral plane in the 
position of Tantalus. 

He has built up for himself this terrible desire which 
governs his whole being. You know how powerful the 
desire can be in the case of a drunkard ; it conquers his 
feelings of honor, his love of his family, and all the 
better inclinations of his character. He will take 
money from his wife and children, will even take their 
clothes to sell them and obtain money to drink. 

Remember that when a man dies he does not change 
at all. His desire is still as powerful as ever. But it is 
impossible to gratify it, because his physical body, 
through which only he could drink, is gone. There you 
have your Tantalus, as you see, full of that terrible 
desire, always finding that the gratification recedes as 
soon as he thinks he has it. 


Recall also the story of Tityus, the man who was 
tied to a rock, his liver being gnawed by vultures, and 
growing again as fast as it was eaten. There you have 
an illustration of the effect of yielding to desire: an 
image of the man who is always tortured by remorse 
for sins committed on earth. 

As perhaps a higher example of the same we can take 
the story of Sisyphus. You know how he was con- 
demned always to roll a stone up a hill, and how, when 
he reached the top, the stone would always roll down 
again. That is the condition of an ambitious man after 
death, a man who has spent his life in making plans for 
selfish ends, for attaining glory or honor. In his case 
also death brings no change. He goes on making plans 
just as he did during life. He works out his plans, 
he executes them, as he thinks, till the point of culmina- 
tion, and then he suddenly perceives that he has no 
longer a physical body, and that all was but a dream. 
Then he begins again and again, till he has learnt at 
last that these desires are useless and that ambition 
must be killed. So Sisyphus goes on uselessly rolling 
the stone up the hill, till at last he learns not to roll it 
any more. To have learnt that is to have conquered 
that desire, and he will come back in his next life with- 
out it; without the desire, but of course not without 
the weakness of character which made that desire 

So you see that conditions that seem terrible are but 
the effects in the other world of a wrong life here on 
earth. That is nature's method of turning wrong into 
good. Man does suffer, but what he suffers is only the 
effect of his own action and nothing else ; it is not pun- 
ishment inflicted upon him from outside, but entirely 
of his own making. And that is not all. The suffering 
he has to bear is the only means by which his qualities 


can be directed in the right way for his evolution and 
progress in another life. This was a point much em- 
phasized in the teaching of the mysteries. 

Now in regard to the greater mysteries. Those were 
celebrated principally in the great temple of Eleusis, 
not far from Athens. The initiates were named 
"epoptai," that is, "they whose eyes are opened." Their 
emblem was the golden fleece of Jason which is the 
symbol of the mind-body; for the yellow colour in the 
human aura indicates the intelligence, as every clair- 
voyant knows. In this degree of initiation the teach- 
ings of the former degree were continued. In the first, 
as you remember, were taught the effects in the astral 
world of various ways of living. In the greater mys- 
teries the pupil was shown what would be the effect in 
the heaven-world of a certain line of life, study and 
aspiration on earth. The whole history of the evolu- 
tion of the world and of man, in its deeper aspect, v/as 
expounded in the greater mysteries. The same method 
of representation as in the other case was used here ; 
although it was much more difficult to represent on the 
physical plane what belonged to the mental. 

In each of these divisions of the mysteries, the lesser 
and the greater, there was an inner school which 
taught practical development to those who were seen 
to be ready for it. In the lesser mysteries theoretical 
knowledge about the astral plane was given, but the 
teachers carefully watched their pupils, and when they 
noticed one of whose character they felt sure, who 
showed that he was capable of psychic development, 
they invited him into the inner circle in which instruc- 
tion was given as to the method of using the astral 
body and consciously functioning in it. When such a 
man passed on to the greater mysteries he received not 
only the ordinary teaching about the conditions of the 


mental plane, but also private instruction as to the 
development of the mental body as a vehicle. 

Those who were thus received, not only into the 
recognized stages of the mysteries but into their inner 
schools, were also taught at the end of their course that 
all of this was in truth but exoteric — that all which 
they had learnt, incalculable as had been its value, was 
really only a preparation for the true mysteries of initi- 
ation which would lead them to the feet of the Masters 
of Wisdom, and admit them to the Great Brotherhood 
which rules the world. 

I may explain still further the meaning of some of 
those symbols which were used in connection with the 
mysteries. First, we will take what was called the 
thyrsus — that is, a staff with a pine-cone on its top. In 
India the same symbol is found, but instead of the 
staff a stick of bamboo with seven knots is used. In 
some modifications of the mysteries, a hollow iron rod, 
said to contain fire, was used instead of the thyrsus. 
Here again it is not difficult for the student of occultism 
to see the meaning. The staff or the stick with seven 
knots represents the spinal cord, with its seven centres, 
of which we read in the Hindu books. The hidden fire 
is the serpent-fire, kundalini, of which you may read 
in The Secret Doctrine. But the thyrsus was not only 
a symbol ; it was also an object of practical use. It was 
a very strong magnetic instrument, used by initiates to 
free the astral body from the physical when they passed 
in full consciousness to this higher life. The priest 
who had magnetized it laid it against the spinal cord of 
the candidate and gave him in that way some of his 
own magnetism, to help him in that difficult life and 
in the efforts which lay before him. In connection with 
these mysteries, a certain set of objects called the toys 
of Bacchus are spoken of. When you go over those 


lists of the toys of Bacchus you will find them very 

Whilst the child Bacchus (the Logos) plays with his 
toys he is seized by the Titans and torn to pieces. Later 
these pieces are put together and built into a whole. 
You will understand that this, however clumsy it may 
seem to us, is without doubt an allegory, which repre- 
sents the descending of the One to become the many, 
and the re-union of the many in the One, through suf- 
fering and sacrifice. What, then, are the toys of the 
child Bacchus when he falls into matter and becomes 
the many? In the first place we find him playing with 
dice. Those dice are not common dice, but the five 
platonic solids; a set of five regular figures, the only 
regular polygons possible in geometry. They are given 
in a fixed series, and this series agrees with the differ- 
ent planes of the solar system. Each of them indicates, 
not the form of the atoms of the different planes, but 
the lines along which the power works which surrounds 
those atoms. These polygons are the tetrahedron, the 
cube, the octohedron, the dodecahedron, and the icosa- 
hedron. If we put the point at one end and the sphere 
at the other we get a set of seven figures, corresponding 
to the number of planes of our solar system. 

You know that in some of the older schools of phi- 
losophy it was said : "No one can enter who does not 
know mathematics." What do you think is meant by 
that? Not what we now call mathematics, but the 
mathematics which embraced the knowledge of the 
higher planes, of their mutual relations and the way in 
which the whole is built by the will of God. Plato said, 
"God geometrizes," and it is perfectly true. Those 
forms are not conceptions of the human brain ; they are 
truths of the higher planes. We have formed the habit 
of studying the books of Euclid, but we study them now 


for themselves, and not as a guide to something higher. 
The old philosophers pondered upon them because they 
led to the understanding of the true science of life. We 
have lost sight of the true teaching, and grasp in many- 
cases only the lifeless form. 

Another toy with which Bacchus played was a top, 
the symbol of the whirling atom of which you will find 
a picture in Occult Chemistry. He also plays with a 
ball which represents the earth, that particular part of 
the planetary chain to which the thought of the Logos 
is specially directed at the moment. Also he plays with 
a mirror. The mirror has always been a symbol of 
astral light, in which the archetypal ideas are reflected 
and then materialized. So you see that each of those 
toys indicates an essential part in the evolution of a 
solar system. 

A few words may be said about the way in which 
people were prepared for the study of those mysteries 
by the different schools ; for instance, the Pythagorean 
school, to which I belonged. In the Pythagorean 
schools, the pupils were divided into three classes. The 
first was called that of the akoustikoi or hearers. This 
means that they were learners, but it is also true that 
one of the rules was that they were to keep absolutely 
silent for two years. 

I think this rule would be regarded as a serious 
drawback by many who join our Society at the present 
time, but in those olden times a great many people, 
not only men but women too, submitted to this stipula- 
tion. The rule had also another meaning, but it is a 
fact that during two years the members of the first 
class were compelled to keep silence. The other mean- 
ing was that during all the time, however long, that a 
man stayed in this class of the akoustikoi, he might not 
give out any teaching, but continued to learn. I have 


wished that we had some such arrangement in the 
Theosophical Society, for it sometimes happens that 
members who do not yet know much themselves want 
to teach others, and the teaching is not always recog- 
nizable as Theosophy. 

The second class of Pythagoreans was called that of 
the mathematikoi. They passed their time in studying 
geometry, numbers and music. They brought these 
different subjects into relation to one another and 
worked out the relations between colour and sound, 
which are very remarkable. 

Let us take an example, which shows how our world 
is a coherent whole and how we can take facts from dif- 
ferent parts which do not seem to have any connection 
whatever, and bring them into relation with each other. 
I just spoke about the five platonic polygons. Every 
one who knows anything about music knows that there 
is a fixed proportion between the length of the strings 
which produce certain tones. You know that you can 
tune a piano according to a certain system of fifths, and 
you can express the relation of the different tones to 
one another by the number of vibrations of each tone ; 
so you can express an harmonious chord in mathemat- 
ical numbers. This was first discovered simply by 
experiment; later the mathematicians found out what 
the proportions should be, and again by experiment 
they were found to be exact. But the peculiarity is 
that the set of numbers which produces an harmonious 
chord have the same relation to one another as that 
which exists between certain parts of these platonic 
solids. I believe that this point was worked out some 
time ago in an article in the Theosophical Review by 
one of the English cathedral organists. 

It is very remarkable that our scale, so different from 
the old Greek scale, which consisted of five tones, can 


still be deduced from the proportion of those five pla- 
tonic figures, which were studied some thousands of 
years ago in Greece. One is apt to think that there 
cannot be much relation between mathematics and 
music, but you see that they are both parts of one 
great whole. 

The third class of the Pythagorean school was 
formed of the physikoi — those who studied physics, the 
inner connection between phenomena, world-building 
and metaphysics. They learnt the truth about man and 
nature and, as far as they could learn it, about Him 
who made both. 

There is still one point in the mysteries which we 
should not forget to consider — the life of the disciples. 
A life of perfect purity was strictly required. It is a 
remarkable coincidence that the life in the Pythagorean 
school is divided into five periods, almost similar to 
the five steps of the preparatory path of the Hindus, 
as described by me in Invisible Helpers, and by Mrs. 
Besant in The Path of Discipleship. Almost all the 
forms and symbols of the present Christian religion are 
derived from the Egyptian mysteries. All the symbol- 
ism, for example, that is related to the Latin cross, and 
to the descent and sacrifice of the Logos, is taken from 
the Egyptian mysteries. I have written about this in 
The Christian Creed. 

Though the mysteries of Greece and Rome, of Egypt 
and Chaldaea, are long ago defunct, the world has never 
been left without avenues of approach to the inner 
shrine. Even in the gross darkness of the middle ages 
the Rosicrucians and some other secret societies were 
ready to teach the truth to those who were ready to 
learn; and now in these modern days of hurry and 
materialism the Theosophical Society still upholds the 
banner of true knowledge, and acts as a gateway by 


means of which those who are really in earnest may 
reach the feet of the Masters of the Wisdom. We have 
our grades in the Esoteric Section, just as the mys- 
teries had ; and behind us, as behind them, stand always 
the officials of the Great White Brotherhood, who keep 
in their hands the key to the true initiations. 

You must also remember that many things given 
in those old days only under the seal of secrecy are now 
made public, and through our Society are given to the 
world. Many of the greatest and noblest characters 
of history have passed years in study and work to try 
to find what is now given us so easily and simply in a 
few books. Of us is perfectly true what is said in the 
Bible : "Many prophets and kings have desired to see 
those things which ye see, and have not seen them; 
and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not 
heard them." (Luke, x. 24.) Because this honour 
is reserved for us and this opportunity is given us, it 
seems to me that a great responsibility rests upon us, 
and that we should try to be worthy of the gift. It is 
good karma which allows this possibility to open before 
us. If we let it pass, we shall not deserve to have an- 
other offered us for thousands of years. If you knew, 
as I know, with what difficulties we had to contend in 
former days to learn all those things which are laid 
before us now, perhaps you would appreciate more the 
opportunity offered you. Let us try to make use of it 
to the utmost of our power, and show ourselves worthy 
of the privilege given us by Theosophy. 

j$*r0ttfc Bettwn 



The Logos 

E have in the Logos of our solar system as 
near an approach to a personal (or rather, 
perhaps, individual) God as any reasonable 
man can desire, for of Him is true every- 
thing good that has ever been predicated of a personal 
deity. We cannot ascribe to Him partiality, injustice, 
jealousy, cruelty; those who desire these attributes in 
their deity must go elsewhere. But so far as His sys- 
tem is concerned He possesses omniscience, omnipres- 
ence, omnipotence ; the love, the power, the wisdom, the 
glory, all are there in fullest measure. Yet He is a 
mighty Individual — a trinity in unity, and God in very 
truth, though removed by we know not how many 
stages from the Absolute, the Unknowable before which 
even solar systems are but as specks of cosmic dust. 
I do not think that we can image Him at all. The sun 
is His chief manifestation on the physical plane, and 
that may help us a little to realize some of His qualities, 
and to see how everything comes from Him. The sun 
may be considered as a sort of force-centre in Him, 
corresponding to the heart of man, the outer manifesta- 
tion of the principal centre in His body. 

Although the whole solar system is His physical 
body, yet His activities outside of it are enormously 
greater than those within it. I have myself preferred 
not even to try to make any image of Him, but simply 



to contemplate Him as pervading all things, so that 
even I myself am also He, so that all other men too are 
He, and in truth there is nothing but God. Yet at the 
same time, although this that we can see is a manifesta- 
tion of Him, this solar system that seems so stupendous 
to us is to Him but a little thing, for, though He is all 
this, yet outside it and above it all He exists in a glory 
and a splendour of which we know nothing as yet. 
Thus though we agree with the pantheist that all is 
God, we yet go very much further than he does, because 
we realize that He has a far greater existence above 
and beyond His universe. "Having pervaded this 
whole universe with one fragment of Myself, I remain." 
(Bhagavad Gita, x. 42.) 

I do not think that we can find any form of words 
that will at all express the method of our union with 
Him. We may in one sense be cells in his Body, but we 
are certainly very much more than that, for His life 
and power are manifested through us in a way which 
is out of all proportion to any such manifestation of 
our spiritual life as could be supposed to be given 
through the cells of our bodies. In His manifestation 
on the lowest cosmic plane we may take it that His first 
aspect is on the highest level, the second on that below 
it, and the third in the higher part of the nirvanic 
plane, so that when an adept gradually raises his con- 
sciousness plane by plane as he developes, he comes 
first to the third aspect and realizes his unity with that, 
moving on only after long intervals to full union with 
the second and the first. 

I myself who speak to you have once seen Him in a 
form which is not the form of His system. This is 
something which utterly transcends all ordinary expe- 
rience, which has nothing to do with any of the lower 
planes. The thing became possible for me only through 


a very daring experiment — the utter blending for a 
moment of two distinct rays or types, so that by means 
of this blending a level could for a moment be touched 
enormously higher than any to which either of the egos 
concerned could have attained alone. He exists far 
above His system ; He sits upon it as on a lotus throne. 
He is as it were the apotheosis of humanity, yet infi- 
nitely greater than humanity. We might think of the 
Augoeides carried up higher and higher, and to infin- 
ity. I do not know whether that form is permanent or 
whether it can be seen at a certain level only — who 
shall say? But that this thing is a tremendous reality 
— that I know; and, once seen, such a manifestation 
can never be forgotten. 

One little touch of higher experience I may mention, 
though it is one which is exceedingly difficult to de- 
scribe adequately. When a man raises his conscious- 
ness to the highest subdivision of his causal body, and 
focuses it exclusively in the atomic matter of the men- 
tal plane, he has before him three possibilities of mov- 
ing that consciousness, which correspond to some extent 
with the three dimensions of space. Obviously a way 
is open to him to move it downwards into the second 
subplane of the mental, or upward into the lowest sub- 
plane of the buddhic, if he has developed that suffi- 
ciently to be able to utilize it as vehicle. 

A second line of movement open to him is the short 
cut which exists from the atomic subdivision of one 
plane to the corresponding atomic subdivisions of the 
planes above and below, so that without touching any 
intermediate sub-plane the consciousness may pass 
from that atomic mental downwards to the atomic 
astral or upwards to the atomic buddhic, again of 
course supposing the development of this latter to be 
already achieved. In order to image to oneself this 


short cut, one may think of the atomic subplanes as 
being side by side along a rod, the other sub-divisions 
of each plane hanging from the rod in loops, as though 
a piece of string were wound loosely round the rod. 
Obviously then to pass from one atomic sub-division to 
another one could move by the short cut straight along 
the rod, or down and up again through the hanging 
loop of string which symbolizes the lower sub-planes. 
But there is yet a third possibility — a possibility not 
so much yet of movement along another line at right 
angles to both of these others, but rather a possibility 
of looking up such a line — looking up as a man at the 
bottom of a well might look up at a star in the sky 
above him. 

For there is a direct line of communication between 
the atomic sub-plane of the mental in this lowest cos- 
mic plane and the corresponding atomic mental in the 
cosmic plane. We are infinitely far as yet from being 
able to climb upwards by that line, but once at least the 
experience came of being able to look up it for a 
moment. What is seen then it is hopeless to try to 
describe, for no human words can give the least idea of 
it ; but at least this much emerges, with a certitude that 
can never be shaken, that what we have hitherto sup- 
posed to be our consciousness, our intellect, is simply 
not ours at all, but His; not even a reflection of His, 
but literally and truly a part of His consciousness, a 
part of His intellect. Incomprehensible, yet literally 
true ! It is a commonplace of our meditation to say, 
"I am that Self ; that Self am I," but to see it, to know 
it, to feel it, to realize it in this way, is something very 
different from that verbal recitation. 

From Him comes forth all life in the successive out- 
pourings which are described in our books — the first 
outpouring from His third aspect, which gives to pre- 


viously existing atoms the power to aggregate them- 
selves into the chemical elements — the action which is 
described in the Christian Scriptures as the spirit of 
God moving over the waters of space. When, at a later 
stage, the kingdoms of nature are definitely estab- 
lished, there comes the second outpouring, from His 
second aspect, which forms group-souls for the min- 
erals, the plants, the animals, and this is the descent of 
the Christ principle into matter, which alone renders 
possible our very existence. But when we think of the 
human kingdom we remember that the ego itself is a 
manifestation of the third outpouring which comes 
from His first aspect, the eternal and all-loving Father. 
Every fixed star is a sun like our own, and each one 
is a partial expression of a Logos. 


In thinking of the Lord Buddha we must not forget 
that He is very much more than merely the founder of 
a religion. He is a great official of the Occult Hier- 
archy, the greatest of all save one, and the founder in 
previous incarnations of many religions before this one 
which now bears His title. For He was the Vyasa who 
has done so much for the Indian religion; He was 
Hermes, the great founder of the Egyptian mysteries ; 
He was the original Zoroaster, from whom came the 
sun and fire worship; and he was also Orpheus, the 
great bard of the Greeks. 

In this last of His many births, when He came as the 
Lord Gautama, it does not appear that He had origi- 
nally any intention of founding a new religion. He 


appeared simply as a reformer of Hinduism — a 
faith which was already of hoary antiquity, and had 
therefore departed much from its original form, as all 
religions have. It had become hardened in many ways, 
and appears to have been very far less elastic even than 
it is now. Even now we all know how strictly drawn 
are the lines between the castes, what an iron rigidity 
there is as to forms and ceremonies. We know that 
even now no man can be converted to Hinduism; the 
only way to enter that faith is to be born into it. 

Imagine a condition in which all this was even far 
more rigid, in which the feeling was much more in- 
tense, in which all the ideas of life had been very much 
changed from what they were in the days of the orig- 
inal Aryan immigrants, when it was a religion full of 
joy, and holding out hope for everybody. A little be- 
fore the time of the Buddha the general opinion seems 
to have been that practically no one but a brahman 
had any chance of salvation at all. Now as the num- 
ber of the brahmans was always small, and even now 
is only something like thirteen millions out of the three 
hundred million inhabitants of India, it was clearly 
not a very hopeful religion for the majority of the 
people, since it indicated to them that they had to work 
on through very many lives, until they could earn ad- 
mission into the small and exclusive brahman caste, 
before they could possibly escape from the wheel of 
birth and death. 

Then came Lord Buddha, and by His teaching flung 
open wide the gates of the sweet law of justice, for 
He taught that men had departed entirely from the old 
form of religion. He repeatedly asserted that a man 
who, though born a brahman, did not live the life which 
a brahman should, was neither worthy of respect nor 
in the way of salvation, and that a man of any other 


caste who did live the true brahman life, should be 
treated as a brahman, and had in every way the same 
possibilities before him as though he had been born 
into the sacred caste. 

Naturally enough in the face of teachings which 
placed all hope of final salvation so indefinitely far 
away in the future, the ordinary man of the world 
had become hopeless and consequently careless ; on the 
other hand, the austerity of the brahman, who spent 
the whole of his life in ceremonies and in meditation, 
was not to their taste, and indeed was obviously im- 
possible for them. But the Buddha preached to them 
what He called the middle way; He told them that 
although the life of austerity and of entire devotion 
to religion was not for them, there was no reason why, 
because of that, they should relapse into carelessness 
and evil living. He showed them that a higher life is 
possible for the man still in the world, and that, though 
they might not be able to devote themselves to meta- 
physics and to hairsplitting arguments, they could still 
obtain sufficient grasp of the great facts of evolution 
to form a satisfactory guide to them in their lives. 

He declared that extremes in either direction are 
equally irrational ; that on the one hand the life of the 
ordinary man of the world, wrapped up entirely in his 
business, pursuing dreams of wealth and power, is 
foolish and defective because it leaves out of account 
all that is really worthy of consideration ; but that on 
the other hand the extreme asceticism that teaches 
each man to turn his back upon the world altogether, 
and to devote himself exclusively and selfishly to the 
endeavour to shut himself away from it and escape 
from it, is also foolish. He held that the middle path 
of truth and beauty is the best and safest, and that 
while certainly the life devoted entirely to spirituality 


is the highest of all for those who are ready for it, there 
is also a good and true and spiritual life possible for 
the man who yet holds his place and does his work 
in the world. 

He based His doctrines solely on reason and com- 
mon-sense; He asked no man to believe anything 
blindly, but rather told him to open his eyes and look 
around him. He declared that in spite of all the sor- 
row and misery of the world, the great scheme of which 
man is a part is a scheme of eternal justice, and that 
the law under which we are living is a good law, and 
needs only that we should understand it and adapt our- 
selves to it. He taught that all life is suffering, but 
that man causes his own trouble for himself, because 
he yields himself perpetually to desire for that which 
he has not, and He said that happiness and content- 
ment can be gained better by limiting desires than by 
increasing possessions. 

To this end He tabulated His teaching in the most 
marvellous manner, arranging everything under cer- 
tain headings which could be readily memorized. This 
constitutes in reality a carefully graded system of 
mnemonics. It is so simple in its broad outline that 
any child can remember and understand its four noble 
truths, its noble eightfold path, and the principles of 
life which they suggest ; yet it is carried out so elabor- 
ately that it constitutes a system of philosophy which 
the wisest man may study all his life through, and yet 
find in it ever more and more light upon the problems 
of life. 

He analyzed everything to an almost incredible ex- 
tent, as may be seen by a study of the twelve nidanas, 
or by His enumeration of the steps which intervene 
between thought and action. Each of His four noble 
truths is represented by a single word, and yet to any 


one who has ever heard the exposition of the system 
each of those words inevitably calls up a great range 
of ideas. The same thing is true of the words signi- 
fying the steps of the noble eightfold path, and of the 
"great perfections" which are spoken of in The Voice 
of the Silence. All of these perfections are simply 
wisdom, power and love appearing in different forms. 
They are sometimes reckoned as six, but more com- 
monly as ten. The six are given as perfect charity, 
perfect morality, perfect patience, perfect energy, per- 
fect truth and perfect wisdom ; and the other four 
which are sometimes added are perfect resignation, 
perfect resolution, perfect kindness and perfect abne- 

The religion of Buddhism has practically disap- 
peared from India, yet it has left behind it lasting 
results, and the country bears everywhere the strong 
impress of His teachings. Before His coming blood- 
sacrifices appear to have been universal ; even now they 
still exist, but are comparatively rare, for He taught 
that such things were not pleasing to any noble diety, 
but that the Gods desired rather the sacrifice of a holy 

In looking back upon the record of those times we see 
that He preached mostly in the open air, and nearly 
always sitting at the foot of a tree, with the listeners 
sitting on the ground about Him, or standing leaning 
against the trees, men and women intermingling, and 
little children running about and playing upon the out- 
skirts of the crowd. The great teacher had a most 
wonderful voice, gloriously full and sonorous, and a 
personality which instantly commanded the attention 
of all who heard Him, and invariably won their hearts, 
even in the rare cases where they did not agree with 
what he said. The audiences were stirred up to great 


religious fervor ; we find them constantly raising cries 
of "Sadhu, Sadhu," by way of applause, when any- 
thing was said which especially moved them, and at 
the same time raising their joined hands in an attitude 
of salutation. 

Part at least of this influence was due to the tremen- 
dously strong vibrations of His aura, which was of 
very great size, so that the audience were actually sit- 
ting within it and being attuned to it while they lis- 
tened to His discourse. Its magnetic effect was al- 
most indescribable, and while His hearers were within 
its influence even the most stupid of them could under- 
stand to the full whatever He said, though often after- 
wards when they had passed away from that influ- 
ence they found it difficult to comprehend it at all in 
the same way. To this marvellous influence also is 
due the phenomenon so often described in the Buddhist 
books — the attainment of the arhat level by such large 
numbers of His hearers. It is quite a common thing 
to read in the accounts given in the Buddhist scrip- 
tures that after a sermon of the Buddha hundreds of 
men, even thousands, reached the arhat level. Know- 
ing what a very high degree of attainment this means, 
this seemed to us, when we read it, almost incredible, 
and we supposed it to be simply a case of oriental ex- 
aggeration; but later and closer study has shown us 
that the accounts are actually true. So remarkable 
a result seemed to call for further investigation into 
its causes, and we found that in order to understand 
all this it was necessary to take into account not this 
one life only, but the work of many previous incarna- 

We must remember that the Lord Gautama is the 
Buddha of the fourth root-race, even though this last 
incarnation of His was taken in the fifth. He had been 


born many times in various Atlantean races, and al- 
ways as a great teacher. In each of those lives He 
had drawn around Him many pupils, who had grad- 
ually been raised to higher levels of thought and of 
life, and when He came in India for this last culmi- 
nating birth He arranged that all those whom at many 
different times and in many different lands He had in- 
fluenced should be brought together into incarnation 
at the same time. Thus His audiences were to a large 
extent composed of fully prepared and, as it were, 
highly specialized souls, and when these came under 
the influence of the extraordinarily powerful mag- 
netism of a Buddha, they understood and followed 
every word which He said, and the action upon them 
as egos was of the most wonderfully stimulating na- 
ture. Therefore it was that they so readily responded ; 
therefore it was that so large a number of them could 
be and were raised so rapidly to such dizzy heights. 

In the third volume of The Secret Doctrine we shall 
find an exceedingly interesting and suggestive section 
called The Mystery of Buddha, which refers to the fact 
that the Buddha prepared His own inner bodies of 
very high grades of matter, with the fullest develop- 
ment of the spirillae. His buddhic, causal and mental 
bodies are kept together for other Great Ones to use, 
because of the exceeding difficulty of producing others 
equal to them. The Christ used them along with the 
physical body of Jesus, while the latter waited on 
higher planes in his own vehicles. Shankaracharya 
also used these "remains." Hence arose the incorrect 
idea that He was a reincarnation of the Buddha. The 
coming Christ will also use these vehicles, wedding 
them to another physical body which is even now be- 
ing prepared for Him. 

Buddhism still claims a larger number of adherents 


than any other religion in the world, and is a living 
influence in the lives of millions of our fellow-men. 
It would be quite unfair to judge it by what is written 
about it by European orientalists. When I was in 
Ceylon and Burma I compared these accounts with 
the interpretation given to the doctrines by the liv- 
ing followers of His religion. Learned monks in these 
countries approach the subject with an accuracy of 
knowledge at least equal to that of the most advanced 
orientalists, but their interpretation of the doctrines 
is very far less wooden and lifeless. By far the best 
book in English to give one a real idea of the religion 
as it is held by living men is The Light of Asia, by 
Sir Edwin Arnold; and another book, which makes a 
good second to it, is The Soul of a People, by H. Field- 
ing Hall. Some critics have said that Sir Edwin Arn- 
old has gone a little beyond the bare literal meaning 
of the words of the text, and is trying to read Christ- 
ian ideas into them. I do not think this is so, and I 
have certainly found that he expresses far more closely 
the feeling and attitude of the Buddhists than any 
other writer. 

Buddhism is now divided into two great Churches, 
the Northern and the Southern, and both of them have 
departed to some extent from the original teaching 
of the Buddha, though in different directions. The 
religion is so plain and straightforward, and so obvi- 
ously common-sense that almost any person may read- 
ily adapt himself to it, without necessarily giving up 
the beliefs and practices of other faiths. As a conse- 
quence of this in the Northern Church we have a form 
of Buddhism with an immense amount of accretion. 
It seems to have absorbed into itself many ceremonies 
and beliefs of the aboriginal faith which it supplanted ; 
so that in Tibet, for example, we find it including a 


whole hierarchy of minor deities, devas and demons 
which were entirely unknown to the original scheme 
of the Buddha. The Southern Church, on the other 
hand, instead of adding to the teaching of the Buddha, 
has lost something from it. It has intensified the ma- 
terial and the abstract sides of the philosophy. 

It teaches that nothing but Karma passes over from 
life to life — that there is no permanent ego in man, 
but that in his next birth he is in effect a new man, 
who is the result of the karma of the previous life; 
and they quote various sayings of the Buddha in sup- 
port of this. It is true that He often spoke very 
strongly against the persistence of the personality, 
and that He assured His hearers again and again that 
nothing whatever which they knew in connection with 
a man could pass over to another birth. But He no- 
where denied the individuality; in fact many of His 
sayings absolutely affirm it. Take for example a text 
which occurs in the Samannayhalasutta of the Digha- 
Nikaya. When first mentioning the condition and 
training of the mind that are necessary for success in 
spiritual progress, the Buddha describes how he sees 
all the scenes in which he was in any way concerned 
passing in succession before his mind's eye. He illus- 
trates it by saying: 

"If a man goes out from his own village to another 
and thence to another, and from there comes back 
again to his own village, he may think thus: 'I in- 
deed went from my own village to that other. There 
I stood thus; I sat in this manner; thus I spoke, and 
thus I remained silent. From that village again I went 
to another, and I did the same there. The same 'I 
am' returned from that village to my own village.' 
In the very same way, King, the ascetic, when his 
mind is pure, knows his former births. He thinks: 


'In such a place I had such a name. I was born in such 
a family, such was my caste, such was my food, and 
in such and such a way I experienced pleasure and 
pain, and my life extended through in some other place, 
and there also I had such and such conditions. Thence 
removed, the same T am now born here.' " 

This question shows very clearly the doctrine of the 
Buddha with regard to the reincarnating ego. He gives 
illustrations also in the same Sutta of the manner in 
which an ascetic can know the past births of others — 
how he can see them die in one place, and after the 
sorrows and joys of hell and heaven the same men 
are born again somewhere else. It is true that in the 
Brahmajala Sutta He mentions all the various aspects 
of the soul, and says that they do not absolutely exist, 
because their existence depends upon "contact," that 
is to say upon relation. But in thus denying the abso- 
lute reality of the soul He agrees with the other great 
Indian teachers, for the existence not only of the 
soul but even of the Logos Himself is true only 

Untrained minds frequently misunderstand these 
ideas, but the careful student of oriental thought will 
not fail to grasp exactly what is meant, and to real- 
ize that the teaching of the Buddha in this respect 
is exactly that now given by Theosophy. It is not diffi- 
cult to see how various texts might be so emphasized 
or distorted as to seem to contradict one another, and 
the Southern Church has chosen to cling rather to the 
denial of the permanence of the personality than to 
the assertion of the continuity of the individuality, 
just as in Christianity some people have acquired the 
habit of laying stress on particular texts, and ignor- 
ing others which contradict them. 

Another point as to which there is a very similar 


misunderstanding is the constantly repeated assertion 
that nirvana is equivalent to annihilation. Even Max 
Mueller, the great Oxford Sanskritist, was under this 
delusion for many years, but later in his life with fur- 
ther and deeper study he came to understand that in 
this he had been mistaken. The description which 
the Lord Buddha Himself gives to nirvana is so far 
above the comprehension of any man who is trained 
only in ordinary and worldly methods of thought that 
it is little wonder that it should have been misunder- 
stood at first sight by the European orientalists; but 
no one who has lived in the East among the Buddhists 
can for a moment suppose that they regard annihila- 
tion as the end which they are striving to reach. 

It is quite true that the attaining of nirvana does 
involve the utter annihilation of that lower side of man 
which is in truth all that we know of him at the pres- 
ent time. The personality, like everything connected 
with the lower vehicles, is impermanent and will dis- 
appear. If we endeavour to realize what man would 
be when deprived of all which is included under these 
terms we shall see that for us at our present stage it 
would be difficult to comprehend that anything re- 
mained, and yet the truth is that everything remains — 
that in the glorified spirit which then exists, all the 
essence of all the qualities which have been developed 
through the centuries of strife and stress in earthly in- 
carnation will inhere to the fullest possible degree. 
The man has become more than man, since he is now 
on the threshold of Divinity; yet he is still himself, 
even though it be a so much wider self. 

Many definitions have been given of nirvana, and 
naturally none of them can possibly be satisfactory; 
perhaps the best on the whole is that of peace in omnis- 
cience. Many years ago when I was preparing a sim- 


pie introductory catechism of their religion for Budd- 
hist children, the chief Abbot Sumangala himself gave 
me as the best definition of nirvana to put before them 
that it was a condition of peace and blessedness so 
high above our present state that it was impossible 
for us to understand it. Surely that is far removed 
from the idea of annihilation. Truly all that we now 
call the man has disappeared, but that is not because 
the individuality is annihilated, but because it is lost 
in divinity. 

The Buddha Himself once said: "Nirvana is not 
being, but also it is not non-being." 

Another difference between the Northern Church of 
Buddhism and the Southern is that they adopt differ- 
ent versions of the scriptures. It is usually stated 
that the Northern Church adopts the Mahayana and 
the Southern the Hinayana, but whether even this 
much may be safely said depends upon the shade of 
meaning which we attach to a much-disputed word. 
Yana means vehicle, and it is agreed that it is to be 
applied to the dhamma or law, as the vessel which con- 
veys, us across the sea of life to nirvana, but there are 
at least five theories as to the exact sense in which it 
is to be taken. 

1. That it refers simply to the language in which 
the law is written, the greater vehicle being by this 
hypothesis Sanskrit, and the lesser vehicle Pali — a the- 
ory which seems to me untenable. It is true that the 
Northern Church uses the Sanskrit translation, while 
the Southern scriptures are in Pali, the language which 
the Lord Buddha spoke when on earth. It is stated 
that the Pali scriptures which we now possess are 
not in the original form, but that all the originals ex- 
isting (in Ceylon at least) were carefully destroyed 
by the Tamil invaders, so that the Pali scriptures which 


we now have are a retranslation made from a copy 
in Elu, then the vernacular language of Ceylon. 

2. Hina may apparently be taken as signifying 
mean or easy, as well as small. One interpretation 
therefore considers that the Hinayana is the meaner 
or easier road to liberation — the irreducible minimum 
of knowledge and conduct required to attain it, while 
the Mahayana is the fuller and more philosophical doc- 
trine, which includes much traditional knowledge about 
higher realms of nature. Needless to say, this inter- 
pretation comes from a Mahayana source. 

3. That Buddhism, in its unfailing courtesy towards 
other religions, accepts them all as ways to liberation, 
though it regards the method taught by its founder 
as offering the shortest and surest route. According 
to this view Buddhism is the Mahayana, and the Hina- 
yana includes Brahmanism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, 
and any other religions which were existing at the time 
when the definition was formulated. 

4. That the two doctrines are simply two stages of 
one doctrine — the Hinayana for the Sravakas or hear- 
ers, and the Mahayana for more advanced students. 

5. That the word Yana is to be understood not ex- 
actly in its primary sense of Vehicle,' but rather in its 
secondary sense, nearly equivalent to the English word 
'career.' According to this interpretation the Maha- 
yana puts before the man the 'grand career' of becom- 
ing a Bodhisattva and devoting himself to the welfare 
of the world, while the Hinayana shows him only the 
smaller 'career' of so living as to attain nirvana for 

There has also been much discussion as to the exact 
meaning of the terms Adi-Buddha and Avalokitesh- 
wara. I have made no special study of these things 
from the philosophical standpoint, but so far as I have 


been able to gather ideas from discussion of the mat- 
ter with the living exponents of the religion, Adi- 
Buddha seems to be the culmination of one of the great 
lines of superhuman development — what might be 
called the abstract principle of all the Buddhas. Avalo- 
kiteshwara is a term belonging to the Northern Church, 
and seems to be the Buddhists' name for their concep- 
tion of the Logos. European scholars have translated 
it : "The Lord who looks down from on high," but this 
seems to have in it a somewhat inaccurate implication, 
for it is clearly always the manifested Logos; some- 
times the Logos of a solar system and sometimes higher 
than that, but always manifest. We must not forget 
that while the founders of the great religions see and 
know the things which They name, Their followers us- 
ually do not see; they have only the names, and they 
juggle with them as intellectual counters, and build up 
much which is incorrect and inconsistent. 

The Buddhism of the Southern Church, which in- 
cludes Ceylon, Burma, Siam and Cambodia, has on 
the whole kept its religion free from the accretions 
which have become so prominent in the Northern divi- 
sion of Japan, China and Tibet. In Burma no image 
appears in the temples except that of the Buddha, 
though of Him there are in some cases hundreds of 
images, of different material, in different positions, 
presented by various worshippers. In Ceylon a cer- 
tain concession seems to have been made to popular 
feeling, or perhaps to a foreign government during the 
time of the Tamil kings, for the images of certain 
Hindu deities are often to be seen in the temples, though 
they are always placed in a subordinate position and 
considered as a kind of attendants upon the Buddha. 
We need not however blame the Tibetans very much 
for the fact that certain superstitions have crept into 


their Buddhism. The same thing happens in all coun- 
tries, and with all religions, as time goes on. In Italy, 
for example, numbers of the peasants in the hills still 
follow what they call the old religion, and continue 
even in the present day the worship of Bacchus, under 
an Etruscan name which antedates even the time of 
the Roman Empire. The Catholic priests quite recog- 
nize the existence of this older faith, and set themselves 
against it, but without avail. 

In Southern Buddhism there is remarkably little 
ceremony of any kind — practically nothing indeed that 
in any way corresponds to the Christian service. When 
the people pay their morning visit to the temple they 
usually call upon the monks to recite for them the three 
guides and the five precepts, which they then repeat 
after him, but even this can hardly be called a public 
service, for it is recited not once at a set time, but 
for each group of people as they happen to arrive. 
There is another ceremony called Paritta or Pirit 
(which means 'blessings') but this is not performed 
in the temple itself nor at any stated times, but it is 
considered a good work on the part of the laity to cele- 
brate any special occasion by giving a Pirit ceremony 
— that is to say by erecting and elaborately decorat- 
ing a temporary building in which the ceremony is 
held. It consists of the chanting of benedictory verses 
from the sacred scriptures, and is carried on for a 
certain number of days, usually a fortnight, by relays 
of monks who relieve one another every two hours. 

Sometimes when a man falls ill one of these Pirit 
ceremonies is arranged for him, with the idea that it 
will promote his recovery. It is in reality a mesmeric 
ceremony, for the monks sit in a circle and hold in 
their hands a rope which runs round the circle, and 
they are instructed to recite their texts, keeping clearly 


in their minds all the time the will to bless. Naturally 
this rope becomes very strongly magnetized as the 
ceremony progresses, and strings run from it to a huge 
pot of water, which of course also becomes highly 
charged with magnetism. At the conclusion of the 
ceremony this water is distributed among the people, 
and the sick man often holds a thread which is con- 
nected with the rope. 

The Southern Buddhists give a list of five psychic 
powers which may be gained by the man who is mak- 
ing progress on the Path. (1) The ability to pass 
through the air and through solid objects, and to visit 
the heaven-world while still alive. It is however pos- 
sible that this may mean nothing more than ability 
to function freely in the astral body, because it is quite 
likely that in speaking of the heaven-world they do not 
really mean the mental plane, but only the higher levels 
of the astral. (2) Divinely clear hearing — which is 
evidently merely the astral faculty of clairaudience. 
(3) The ability to comprehend and sympathize with 
all that is in the minds of others — which appears to 
be thought-reading, or perhaps telepathy. (4) The 
Power to remember former births. (5) Divinely clear 
vision — that is to say, clairvoyance. To this is added 
in some lists the attainment of deliverance by wisdom. 
This must of course mean the attainment of freedom 
from the necessity of rebirth, but it does not seem to 
be of the same nature as the other powers, and per- 
haps should hardly appear in the same category. 

Ananda is said to have been the favourite disciple 
of the Lord Buddha, just as John is spoken of as the 
beloved disciple of the Christ, and no doubt in both 
cases the special intimacy was the result of relation- 
ship in previous lives. Ananda was certainly not so 
chosen because he was the most advanced, for even 


after the death of the Buddha we hear that when the 
first great council was held in a cave within the liv- 
ing rock, and the condition of taking part in it was 
that none should enter who could not pass through 
the rock, Ananda found himself shut out from it be- 
cause he had not yet attained this power. But it is 
said that his grief at this exclusion from a grand op- 
portunity of serving his departed Master was so great 
that by a supreme effort of will he then and there de- 
veloped the power which had been lacking, and passed 
in triumphantly to take his place among his brothers, 
though a little late. 

This shows us that even those who are the most 
highly advanced of all humanity have still their special 
friendships, and that therefore to love one person more 
than another cannot be improper. It is true that such 
affection as you now feel for your nearest and dear- 
est you will feel later on for the whole world, but at 
that time you will feel a thousand times more affec- 
tion for those who are nearest to you. Your love will 
never be the same for all, although all will be included 
within it. It is impossible that we should feel towards 
another as we do towards our Master, for when He 
becomes a Logos we shall be part of His system, and 
even when far later on we ourselves become Logoi we 
shall still be part of Him, for He will represent some 
far greater system. Although there will always be 
greater love for some than others, we shall help those 
whom we love less just as fully as those whom we love 
more. We shall always do our best for all, just as 
a doctor equally helps his patient whether he be a 
friend or not, for anything like dislike or hatred will 
have ceased aeons before. 

At the time of the Lord Buddha many other spirit- 
ual teachers were sent forth to the world. We find for 


example Lao-tse, Confucius and Pythagoras, all work- 
ing in their different spheres. Advantage was taken 
of the stupendous outpouring of spiritual force at the 
time to send forth teachers into many parts of the 


There is nothing in the principles of Theosophy 
which is at all in opposition to the true primitive 
Christianity, though there may be statements which 
cannot be reconciled with some of the mistakes of mod- 
ern popular theology. This modern theology attaches 
immense importance to texts ; in fact it appears to 
me to be based upon one or two texts almost entirely. 
It takes these and gives to them a particular interpre- 
tation, often in direct opposition to the plain meaning 
of other texts from the same bible. Of course there 
are contradictions in the Christian scripture just as 
there must 'necessarily be in any book of that size, the 
various parts of which were written at such widely 
separated periods of the world's history, and by people 
so unequal in knowledge and in civilization. 

It is impossible that all the statements made in it 
can be literally true, but we can go back behind them 
all, and try to find out what the original teacher did 
lay before His pupils. Since there are many contra- 
dictions and many interpretations it is obviously the 
duty of a thinking Christian to weigh carefully the 
different versions of his faith which exist in the world, 
and decide between them according to his own reason 
and common-sense. 

Every Christian does, as a matter of fact, decide for 


himself now ; he chooses to be a Roman Catholic, or a 
member of the Church of England, or a Methodist, or 
a Salvationist, though each of these sects professes 
to have the only genuine brand of Christianity, and 
justifies its claim by the quotation of texts. How then 
does the ordinary layman decide between their rival 
claims? Either he accepts blindly the faith which his 
father held, and does not examine the matter at all, 
or else he does examine it, and then he decides by the 
exercise of his own judgment. 

If he is already doing that, it would be absurd and 
inconsistent for him to refuse to examine all texts, 
instead of basing his belief only upon one or two. If 
he does impartially examine all texts, he w T ill certainly 
find many which support Theosophical truth. He will 
find also that the creeds can be rationally interpreted 
only by Theosophy. Of course in order to make an 
intelligent comparison between these different systems 
it will be necessary for him to make some enquiries 
into the history of his own religion, and to see how 
the Christian doctrine came to be what it now is. 

He will find that in the early Christian Church there 
were three principal divisions or parties. There were 
first of all the Gnostic Doctors or teachers, wise and 
cultured men who held that the Christian Church had 
its system of philosophy of the same nature as the 
great Greek and Roman systems which existed at that 
time. They said that this system, while thoroughly 
comprehensive and very beautiful, was difficult to un- 
derstand, and therefore they did not recommend its 
study to the ignorant. They spoke of it as the Gnosis 
or knowledge — the knowledge which was possessed by 
those who were full members of the church, but was 
not given out to the world at large, and not even told to 
the more ignorant members of the church while they 


were in that preliminary stage when they could not 
receive the sacraments. 

Then there was the second division, a body of re- 
spectable middle-class people, who troubled themselves 
not at all about the philosophy, but simply were content 
to take the words of the Christ as their guide in life. 
They used as a sacred book a collection of His sayings, 
some leaves of which have recently been discovered by 

Then there was unfortunately a great mass of ignor- 
ant and turbulent people who never had any grasp 
whatever of Christian doctrine, but became members 
of the church merely because of the prophecies, given 
by the Christ, of a good time to come. He was very 
much moved by the sufferings of the poor, and full of 
compassion and pity for them. He told them con- 
stantly, in His teachings, to take comfort, because the 
poor man who endures the struggle bravely and well 
will in the future have a better position and greater 
advancement than the rich man who misuses his 
opportunities. One can readily see how that doctrine 
preached to an exceedingly ignorant people might be 
taken in a one-sided manner. They would take the 
promises and not the conditions, and their idea of that 
good time might easily be that they in turn would be 
the oppressors and would take advantage of the rich 
man — something which of course the Christ never 
preached. So it came to pass that He attracted to him- 
self a great crowd of men who for various reasons 
were against the existing government ; and when these 
ignorant people in turn preached what they called 
Christianity to others, they naturally intensified and 
exaggerated their own misconceptions of it. This 
great mass of the common people, who called them- 
selves "the poor men," speedily became a vast majority 


of the infant church, and gained so much power that 
they were eventually able to throw out the Gnostic Doc- 
tors as heretics ; for the "poor men" resented the idea 
that any knowledge which they did not possess could 
be regarded as an essential part of Christianity. 

There is yet another point of view from which the 
Christian may find Theosophy of the greatest use to 
him. Just now the minds of many orthodox Christians 
are much exercised with regard to what they call the 
higher criticism — that is, the attempt to apply ordi- 
nary common-sense and scientific methods to the exam- 
ination of the religious teaching — the endeavour to 
understand religion instead of blindly believing it. For 
many ages the world has been told that ecclesiastical 
dogmas must be swallowed like pills, and that to at- 
tempt to reason about them is impious. There are 
many men in the world, and they are among the most 
intellectual of its citizens, who simply cannot accept 
doctrines thus blindly and uncomprehendingly. Before 
they can believe they must to some extent understand, 
and a statement does not become a living fact to them 
until they can relate it rationally to other facts, and 
regard it as part of a more or less comprehensive 
scheme of things. 

It is ridiculous to say (as some of the orthodox do) 
that these people are inherently wicked and that their 
attitude is inspired by the devil. On the contrary they 
are precisely the men who truly appreciate God's great 
gift of reason, and are determined to employ it in the 
highest of all possible directions — for the elucidation of 
the truth about religion. The truth is that the critics 
are of the greatest possible service to religion; they 
are clearing up points in it which heretofore have been 
vague ; they are stating with accuracy matters in con- 
nection with it which were previously very partially 


understood ; they are trying to make a reasonable sys- 
tem out of what has until now been nothing but a mass 
of meaningless confusion. 

If any of our members have orthodox friends who 
are disturbed by these efforts, who fear lest this liber- 
alizing and rationalizing of their faith should refine it 
altogether out of existence, let them recommend to them 
the teachings of Theosophy, for that is the very thing 
which they need. It will teach them to pause before 
throwing aside ancestral belief, and it will show them 
that when properly understood that belief has a real 
meaning and a real foundation, and that, while some of 
the vagaries of mediaeval ecclesiastical dogma may be 
incomprehensible and incredible, the original teaching 
of the Christ was a magnificent presentment of uni- 
versal truth. 

If they have somewhat outgrown the outer form of 
their religion, if they have broken through the chrysalis 
of blind faith, and mounted on the wings of reason and 
intuition to the freer, nobler mental life of more ex- 
alted levels, Theosophy will show them that in all this 
there has been no loss, but a great and glorious gain. 
For it tells them that the glow of devotion which has 
meant so much to them in their spiritual life is more 
than justified, that the splendour and beauty and poetry 
of religious thought exist in fuller measure than they 
have ever hoped before — no longer as mere pleasant 
dreams from which the cold light of common-sense may 
at any time rudely awaken them, but as truths of 
nature which will bear investigation, which become 
only brighter and more perfect as they are more accu- 
rately understood. 

Certainly the Christian Bible ought not to be taken 
literally, for many of its statements are symbolical, and 
others are simply not true. When we examine clair- 


voyantly the life of the founder of Christianity, for 
example, we can find no trace of the alleged twelve 
apostles ; it would seem that as men they never existed, 
but that they were introduced into the story for some 
reason — possibly to typify the twelve signs of the 
zodiac. The disciple Jesus, whose body was taken by 
the Christ, was not an illegitimate son, as is implied in 
the gospel, nor was his father a carpenter. He was in 
reality of the highest aristocracy of the Jews, a de- 
scendant of their own old royal line. He may however 
have had a tinge of Aryan blood in him, which would 
be quite enough to cause the exclusive Jews to say that 
he was not legitimately of the seed of David, and that 
statement might very easily be taken to mean such an 
irregular birth as is suggested by the narrative. 

The truth is that the four gospels at any rate were 
never intended to be taken as in any sense historical. 
They are all founded upon a much shorter document 
written in Hebrew by a monk named Matthseus, who 
lived in a monastery in a desert to the south of Pales- 
tine. He seems to have conceived the idea of casting 
some of the great facts of initiation into a narrative 
form and mingling with it some points out of the life 
of the real Jesus who was born 105 B. C, and some 
from the life of another quite obscure fanatical 
preacher, who had been condemned to death and exe- 
cuted in Jerusalem about 30 A. D. 

He sent this document to a great friend of his who 
was the chief abbot of a huge monastery at Alexandria, 
and suggested to him that he, or some of his assistants, 
might perhaps recast it, and issue it in the Greek lan- 
guage. The Alexandrian abbot seems to have employed 
a number of his young monks upon this work, allowing 
each of them to try the task for himself, and to treat 
it in his own way. A number of documents of very 


varying merit were thus produced, each incorporating 
in his story more or less of the original manuscript of 
Matthaeus, but each also adding to it such legends as 
he happened to know, or as his taste and fancy dictated. 
Four of these still survive to us, and to them are at- 
tached the names of the monks who wrote them, Mat- 
thew, Mark, Luke and John. The splendid passage 
with which the gospel of St. John opens was not 
original but quoted, for we found it in existence many 
years before the time of the Christ in a manuscript 
which was even then of hoary antiquity. 

It was associated in that manuscript with a quota- 
tion from the Stanzas of Dzyan, this latter also being 
translated into Greek. 


You ask what is the real meaning of sin. In the 
sense in which the word is ordinarily employed, at least 
by Christian preachers, I think sin may be defined as 
a figment of the theological imagination. It is popu- 
larly supposed to indicate a defiance of divine law — 
the performance of some action which the actor knows 
to be wrong. It is exceedingly doubtful whether this 
phenomenon ever occurs. In almost every conceivable 
case man breaks the law through ignorance or heedless- 
ness, and not of deliberate intention. When once a 
man really knows and sees the divine intention he 
inevitably comes into harmony with it, for two reasons : 
at an earlier stage because he sees the utter futility of 
doing otherwise, and later because, seeing the glory and 
beauty of the design, he cannot but throw himself into 
its execution with all the powers of his heart and soul. 


One of the most serious of the many misconceptions 
which we have inherited from the dark ages is that 
what is called "sin" is a perversity to be met with pun- 
ishment and savage persecution, instead of what it 
really is, the result of a condition of ignorance that can 
only be dealt with by enlightenment and education. It 
may be objected that in daily life we constantly see 
people doing what they must know to be wrong, but 
this is a misstatement of the case. They are doing 
what they have been told is wrong, which is quite a dif- 
ferent matter. If a man really knows that an action is 
wrong, and that it will inevitably be followed by evil 
consequences, he is careful to avoid it. A man really 
knoivs that fire will burn him ; therefore he does not put 
his hand into it. He has been told that the fire of hell 
will burn him as the result of a certain action — say 
playing cards on a Sunday — but he does not really 
know this, and therefore when he feels the inclination 
to play cards he does so in spite of the threatened con- 
sequences. It will be found that every one who does 
wrong justifies the wrong action to himself at the time 
of its commission, whatever he may think about it 
afterwards in cold blood. So I say that sin as ordi- 
narily understood is a figment of the theological imag- 
ination ; what really exists is an unfortunate condition 
of ignorance which often leads to infraction of the 
divine Law. This ignorance it is our duty to endeavour 
to dispel by the light of Theosophy. 

The Pope 

A magnificent opportunity is waiting for the Pope 
who shall be ready and brave enough to take it. In- 
stead of fulminating rescripts and bulls against The- 


osophy and liberalism, he might himself propound the 
Theosophical interpretation of Christianity. Remem- 
ber that the Catholic Church possesses what is called 
the doctrine of development, and also that it has pro- 
claimed the Pope to be the infallible exponent of divine 
doctrine, the vicegerent of God upon earth. He would 
therefore be perfectly within his rights if, with regard 
to the Theosophical interpretation, he should pronounce 
quite boldly: 

"Certainly this which you bring forward is the true 
meaning of Christian doctrine. We have always known 
this, and we have plenty of manuscripts in the Vatican 
Library to prove it. We did not tell you this before, 
because all through the ages until now men have not 
been fit for such a revelation. They have been too 
crude, too rough, too undeveloped to understand a phil- 
osophical and mystical interpretation. The outer husk 
of the religion has been all that could usefully be offered 
to them. Now one stage more has been attained and 
the world is ready for this further revelation. The 
second and inner meaning of our doctrine is therefore 
put before you, and while we must not condemn those 
who are still at the stage when they must cling to the 
outer husk, neither must they on their part be allowed 
to condemn those who are ready to take the further 
step and to receive a higher illumination." 

But of course he must indeed be a strong as well as a 
wise man who should do this, for like all other great 
personages the Pope is surrounded by enormous masses 
of thought-forms, and he would find it a matter of 
extreme difficulty to break through these and make a 
new departure. 



The line of ceremonial is one along which many peo- 
ple come, but of course it must be understood that no 
religious ceremonial whatever is ever really essential, 
and the man who wishes to enter upon the Path of 
Holiness must realize this fully and must cast off belief 
in the necessity of ceremonies, as one of the fetters 
which hold him back from nirvana. This does not 
mean that ceremonies may not be sometimes quite ef- 
fective in producing the results which are intended, 
but only that they are never really necessary for any 
one, and that the candidate for higher progress must 
learn to do utterly without them. The ceremonial line 
is an easy road for a certain type of people, and is 
really helpful and uplifting for them ; but there is an- 
other type of men who always feel ceremonial as an 
obstacle between themselves and the deities which they 
wish to reach. 

In Christianity this ceremonial line is the one ap- 
pointed by its founder, through which his magic is to 
work. The consecration of the host, for example, is a 
means by which spiritual force is poured out over the 
people. There is often a vast amount of devotional 
feeling at the moment of the consecration, and the 
working of the magic is assisted by that, though it does 
not depend upon it. Those who are devotional unques- 
tionably receive more because they bring with them an 
additional faculty of reception. On the other hand, 
there is always the probability that ignorant devotion 
will degenerate into superstition. In a recent enquiry 
into these matters from the occult point of view, made 
in Sicily, I found that there was certainly plenty of 
superstition, and much harmful interference in family 
matters on the part of the priests ; but still on the whole 


the country was distinctly better than it would have 
been without it. We should remember also that in his- 
tory we usually hear much of the worst effects of relig- 
ious enthusiasm, whereas the good steady progress of 
many thousands under its influence makes but little 


It is difficult to say anything on the question of 
prayer that would be universally applicable, because 
there are such very different kinds of prayer and they 
are addressed to beings who differ very widely in evo- 
lution. The founders of most great religions never in 
any way encouraged their followers to pray to them, 
and as a rule the latter have been far too enlightened 
to do anything of the kind. Whether a very strong 
thought directed towards them would reach them or 
not would depend upon the line of evolution which they 
have since followed — in fact upon whether they still 
remain within touch of this earth or not. If they were 
still so within reach, and if such a thought did reach 
them, it is probable that if they saw that it would be 
good for the thinker that any notice should be taken 
they would turn in his direction the attention of some 
of their pupils who are still upon earth. But it is quite 
inconceivable that a man who had any sort of concep- 
tion of the magnificent far-reaching work done for evo- 
lution by the Great Ones on higher planes could dream 
of intruding his own petty concerns upon Their notice ; 
he could not but know that any kind of help that he 
required would be far more fitly given to him by some- 
one nearer to his own level. Even down here on this 
physical plane we are wiser than that, for we do not 


waste the time of the greatest scholars of our univer- 
sities in helping babies over the difficulties of the 

As regards the saints of any of the churches the posi- 
tion is different, though even with them the ability to 
hear prayers will depend upon their position in evolu- 
tion. The ordinary saint, who is simply a good and 
holy man, will of course take his heaven-life as usual, 
and will probably take a long one. His life on the 
astral plane would be likely to be but short, and it 
would be only during that that it would be possible for 
a prayer to reach him and attract his attention. If 
during that time it did so reach him, no doubt he would 
do anything that he could to satisfy the petitioner; 
but it is by no means certain that it would attract his 
attention, for he would naturally be fully occupied with 
his new surroundings. 

When he entered upon his long rest in the heaven- 
world he would be entirely beyond any possibility of 
being disturbed by earthly things ; yet even in such a 
case a prayer to him might not be without effect in con- 
nection with him. Such a man would almost certainly 
be pouring out a constant stream of loving thought 
towards humanity, and this thought would be a real 
and potent shower of blessing, tending generally to- 
wards the spiritual helping of those upon whom it fell ; 
and there is no doubt that the man who was earnestly 
thinking of or praying to that saint would come into 
rapport with him, and would therefore draw down 
upon himself a great deal of that force, though entirely 
without the knowledge of the saint from whom it came. 
If the saint were sufficiently advanced to have entered 
upon a special series of births rapidly following one 
another the case would be different again. He would 
then be all the time within reach of earth, either living 


on the astral plane or in incarnation upon the physical, 
and if the prayer were strong enough to attract his 
attention at any time when he was for a moment out 
of his body, he would probably give any help in his 

But fortunately for the many thousands who are 
constantly pouring forth their souls in prayer — in the 
blindest ignorance, of course, but still in perfect good 
faith — there is something else to depend upon which 
is independent of all these considerations. Shri 
Krishna tells us, in the Bhagavad Gita, how all true 
prayers come to Him, to whomsoever they may have 
been ignorantly offered ; there is a consciousness wide 
enough to comprehend all, which never fails in its re- 
sponse to any earnest effort in the direction of an 
increased spirituality. It works through many means ; 
sometimes perhaps by directing the attention of a deva 
to the suppliant, sometimes through the agency of those 
human helpers who work upon the astral or mental 
planes for the good of humanity. Such a deva or helper 
so used would, if he showed himself, inevitably be taken 
by the petitioner for the saint to whom he had prayed, 
and there are many stories which illustrate this. 

I myself, for example, have been taken under such 
circumstances for S. Philip Neri, and a junior helper 
who was with me on the occasion was supposed to be 
S. Stanislaus Kostka. Our President, too, has more 
than once been regarded as an angel by those whom she 
w r as assisting. 

The Devil 

The devil is non-existent. There are persons who 
imagine themselves to have made pacts with him, some- 
times signed with their own blood. The result depends 


largely upon what sort of entity happened to person- 
ate him for the occasion. There are plenty of creatures 
of various sorts who would hugely enjoy such a joke 
at the expense of a man ; but no such entity, whatever 
he may be, could possibly have any use for the "soul" 
of a man — nor would the "soul" of anybody foolish 
enough to make such a compact be likely to be of any 
use, either to the owner or anybody else. All these 
absurd superstitions are disproved by the fact that the 
man is the ego, and therefore cannot sell himself, and 
also that there are no buyers in such a transaction ; so 
the whole thing is nothing but foolishness. 

There are many entities who may be both willing 
and able to arrange twenty years of material pros- 
perity for a person. They are generally willing to do it 
in return for some material consideration, such as the 
sacrifice of babies, goats or fowls. The ego has no 
share in these pacts, either in the rare individual cases, 
or in general fetish worship. These entities cannot 
possess the human ego, nor could they use it if it could 
come into their possession. A human body is some- 
times convenient for them, and for the sake of being 
permitted to obsess it they will sometimes enter into 
an arrangement. The making of a compact of this 
nature gives the entity a strong hold upon the man ; but 
as soon as he discovers the folly of his action, the 
proper course for the man to take is to resist such 
obsession to the utmost. Childish ceremonies, such as 
signing with his own blood, would of course make no 
difference whatever. 

There is no hierarchy of evil. There are black magi- 
cians certainly, but the black magician is usually merely 
a single solitary entity. He is working for himself, 
as a separate entity, and for his own ends. You can- 
not have a hierarchy of people who distrust one an- 


other. In the White Brotherhood every member trusts 
the others; but you cannot have trust with the dark 
people, because their interests are built upon self. 

You must, however, take care what you mean when 
you speak of evil. The principle of destruction is often 
personified, but it is only that old forms are broken 
down to be used as material for building new and 
higher ones. Here in India there is Shiva, the De- 
stroyer, but no one would think of Him as evil ; He is 
one of the highest manifestations of the deity. The 
principle of the destruction of forms is necessary in 
order that life may progress. There is a Great One, a 
part of whose function it is to arrange when the great 
cataclysms shall take place — but He works for the good 
of the world. These things are not to be thought of as 
in any way evil. The notion of a supposed angel who 
revolted and was turned out of heaven is very much 
based upon John Milton. The conception is not at all 
the same in the Book of Job. In that story the devil is 
quite a different person from the gloomy hero in the 
Miltonic conception. Then the Buddhists have Mara — 
a personification of the karma of the past descending 
upon the man at once and taking many forms. There 
is an instant working-out of karma upon the attain- 
ment of enlightenment. 

The statement that all material things, all differences 
and limitations are evil is misleading. If by evil you 
mean what is ordinarily connoted by that word, and 
not some other and quite different notion of an abstract 
kind, then matter is not evil. Spirit and matter are 
equal. Matter is not in opposition to spirit. We find 
matter troublesome because of the bodies we have to 
use; but we are here in order to learn what without 
the physical life could not be conveyed to us. The phys- 
ical plane experiences give a definiteness and precision 


to our consciousness and powers which we could never 
acquire on any plane unless we had spent the necessary 
time on this. But why do people bother about evil? 
There is plenty of good in the world, and it is better to 
think of that, for your thought strengthens that of 
which you think. To think and talk so much about 
black magicians unquestionably attracts their atten- 
tion to you, and the results are often exceedingly 


When ignorant missionaries dilate upon the three 
hundred and thirty million gods of the Hindus they 
are making a very gross misrepresentation of a religion 
which is far more scientific than their own. Hinduism, 
like every other religion, knows perfectly well that 
there can be only one God, though there may be count- 
less manifestations of Him. To call these "gods" is of 
course ridiculous. It is perhaps better to avoid the 
word "god" altogether, because of the exceedingly un- 
pleasant ideas which have been associated with it by 
the Christians ; but if it is to be used, at least it should 
never be applied to any being lower than the Logos 
of the solar system. All the good things attributed to 
the Christian God are true of the Logos ; there is noth- 
ing in the system that is not He, and yet He is much 
more than His system. We could not possibly grasp 
the truth about the Absolute; anything which we are 
able to grasp must after all be small, since our minds 
are so small. The advice of the Lord Buddha to His 
people was always that they should not trouble them- 
selves about such remote matters, since it was impos- 
sible to arrive at any conclusion, and nothing useful 
came from it. 


The images of the Indian deities are usually highly- 
magnetized, and when they are carried round the 
streets at the festivals their influence upon the people is 
unquestionably productive of much good. In many of 
the Hindu temples there are strong permanent influ- 
ences at work, as is the case for example at Madura. 
Once when I visited that city some white ashes from 
the temple of Shiva were given to me, and also a bright 
crimson powder from the temple of Parvati, and I 
found that both of these were so powerfully magnet- 
ized as to retain their influence for some years and 
after much travelling. 

India is essentially a country of rites and ceremonies. 
The religion is full of them, and a great many of them 
are said to have been prescribed by the Manu Him- 
self, though it is quite obvious that many others have 
been added at a much later date. Some of them ap- 
pear to be regulations such as would be quite necessary 
at the beginning of a new race, but now that it is thor- 
oughly established it seems clear that they are use- 
less. In many cases when one watches their perform- 
ance one can see quite clearly what must originally 
have been intended, even though now the ceremony 
has become a mere empty shell, and no result follows 
upon it. Such things are not without their value for 
younger souls; indeed there are many who delight in 
them and obtain great benefit from them ; but of course 
none of them can ever be really necessary, and all such 
bondage falls away altogether from the really developed 

Originally every householder was the priest of his 
own family, but as the civilization became more com- 
plex the rites and ceremonies grew more complex also, 
and therefore a class of specially instructed priests had 
to spring up, because no one who had anything else 


to do could possibly remember the wealth of unneces- 
sary detail. In these days it would seem that most 
people perform them, or have them performed for 
them, much in the same spirit as they take medicine 
from a doctor, without understanding what it is, but 
with the faith that it will somehow do them good. 
There are, however, many people who cannot put heart 
and soul into a ceremony unless they do understand 
it, and these people usually end by breaking away from 
ceremonies altogether. 

It is sad to see priests performing the old ceremonies 
and using the old forms which once were so effective, 
and yet producing no result worth mentioning. There 
seems to be no will in these days. They commence 
some of their recitations "Om, Bhur, Bhuvar, Swar" ; 
but nothing whatever happens when they recite the 
words. In the old days the officiant who said this threw 
some will into it, and raised his own consciousness, 
as well as that of those present who were responsive, 
from one plane to the other as he spoke. 

I remember seeing this strongly exemplified in the 
performance of a striking ceremony, when we were 
examining one of the earlier lives which occurred many 
thousands of years ago here in India. The people all 
entered an inner room and stood in absolute darkness. 
In the beginning of the ceremony the officiant slowly 
and solemnly uttered those words, and each produced 
its due effect upon the majority of those who stood 
around him. The word "Om" brought all the people 
in close harmony with him, and with the feelings which 
filled his mind. Then, at the utterance of the word 
"Bhur," to their senses the room was filled with ordi- 
nary light, and they were able to see all the physical 
objects in it ; when, after an interval, the second word 
came, astral sight was temporarily opened for them; 


and the third word produced the same effect upon 
their mental sight, and brought round them all the 
bliss and power of the higher plane, and that condi- 
tion persisted during the recitation of the various 
verses which followed. 

Of course these effects were only temporary, and 
when the ceremony was over the higher consciousness 
faded away from those who had taken part in it, but 
nevertheless it remained for them a tremendous ex- 
perience, and the effect of it was that on another simi- 
lar occasion this higher consciousness was more read- 
ily and more fully aroused in them. But now nothing 
of this sort seems to be done anywhere. Now the priest 
arranges his fuel and utters a solemn invocation to 
Agni, and then — lights the fire with a match! In the 
old days that which is represented by Agni really did 
come, and the fire fell from heaven, to use an old ex- 
pression. But all outer husks seem to remain. 

There is a quite rational and scientific idea under- 
lying the practice of pilgrimage. Great shrines are 
usually erected on the spot where some holy man has 
lived or where some great event has happened (such 
as an initiation) or else in connection with some relic 
of a great person. In any one of these cases a power- 
ful magnetic centre of influence has been created, which 
will persist for thousands of years. Any sensitive 
person who approaches the spot will feel this influence, 
and its effect upon him is unquestionably good. Where 
there is a strong vibration at a much higher level than 
any attained by ordinary humanity, its action upon any 
man who comes within its influence is to raise his own 
vibrations for the time towards unison with it. 

The pilgrim who comes to such a spot and bathes 
himself in its magnetism, perhaps for several days to- 
gether, is certainly the better for it, although differ- 


ent people will be affected in different degrees, accord- 
ing to their power of receptivity. Such a place of 
pilgrimage is the Bodhi tree at Buddha-gaya, the spot 
where the Lord Gautama attained His Buddhahood. 
This is true although the tree which is there now is 
not the original one. That fell some time in the middle 
ages, and the present tree is only an offshoot from it. 
But nevertheless the tremendously strong magnetism 
of the spot remains and is likely to do so for many a 
century yet to come. 


It is said that originally each caste had its distinc- 
tive colour; indeed, the actual meaning of varna (the 
Sanskrit word for caste) is colour. I have not studied 
the question, but at least it is clear that the colours 
which are usually given do not indicate in any way 
the auras of the people. Only a young child has a white 
aura, and even the adepts have various colours in Their 
tremendous glow; yet for some reason the brahman 
is traditionally mentioned as white. A kshattriya is 
said to have some connection with the colour red ; there 
are several reds in the human aura, from the rose of 
affection to the scarlet of anger and indignation, and 
the brown-reds of sensuality. But the kshattriya has 
no more of these than other men. Yellow is tradition- 
ally ascribed to the vaishya. But yellow in the aura 
signifies intellect, and we have no reason to consider 
the vaishya especially endowed with this quality. A 
shudra is spoken of as black. 

If we adopt the suggestion that these colours had to 
do with the ancient and primitive races, we shall find 


the facts more tractable. The Aryans, representing 
the brahman caste, were undoubtedly much lighter in 
colour than the people amongst whom they came. The 
reddish Toltec people who were ruling large portions 
of the land when the Aryan invasion took place may 
have some connection with the original kshattriya 
caste. The aboriginals, who were Lemurians, and are 
now only represented by some of the hill tribes, were 
almost black in colour. They may be connected with 
the shudras. Between them and the Toltecs there ap- 
pear to have been several waves of different Atlantean 
sub-races who settled down as traders ; and these men 
were of a yellowish colour, as is the present day China- 
man. Perhaps they were the original vaishyas. 

No doubt as we carry further and further back the 
investigations which we are making in connection with 
the lines of past lives which are now being examined, 
we shall obtain more definite information on the sub- 
ject of the origin of these castes, and of this question 
of their relation to colour. 


Never forget that the spiritualists are entirely with 
us on some most important points. They all hold (a) 
life after death as an actual vivid ever-present cer- 
tainty, and (b) eternal progress and ultimate happi- 
ness for everyone, good and bad alike. Now these two 
items are of such tremendous, such paramount im- 
portance — they constitute so enormous an advance 
from the ordinary orthodox position — that I for one 
should be well content to join hands with them on such 


a platform, and postpone the discussion of the minor 
points upon which we differ until we have converted 
the world at large to that much of the truth. I always 
feel that there is plenty of room for both of us. 

People who want to see phenomena, people who can- 
not believe anything without ocular demonstration, will 
obtain no satisfaction with us, while from the spirit- 
ualists they will get exactly what they want. On the 
other hand, people who want more philosophy than 
spiritualism usually provides will naturally gravitate 
in our direction. Those who admire the average 
trance-address certainly would not appreciate Theoso- 
phy, while those who enjoy Theosophical teaching 
would never be satisfied with the trance-address. We 
both cater for the liberal, the open-minded, but for 
quite different types of them ; meantime, we surely need 
not quarrel. 

In what Madame Blavatsky wrote on the subject she 
laid great stress on the utter uncertainty of the whole 
thing, and the preponderance of personations over real 
appearances. My own personal experience has been 
more favourable than that. I spent some years in ex- 
perimenting with spiritualism, and I suppose there is 
hardly a phenomenon of which you may read in the 
books which I have not repeatedly seen. I have encoun- 
tered many personations, but still in my experience a 
distinct majority of the apparitions have been genuine, 
and therefore I am bound to bear testimony to the fact. 
The messages which they give are often uninteresting, 
and their religious teaching is usually Christianity and 
water, but still it is liberal as far as it goes, and any- 
thing is an advance upon the bigoted orthodox position. 

Not that some spiritualists are not bigoted also — 
narrow and intolerant as any sectarian — when it comes 
to discussing (say) the question of reincarnation ! The 


majority of English and American spiritualists do not 
yet know of that fact, but the French spiritists, the fol- 
lowers of Allan Kardec, hold it, and also the school of 
Madame d'Esperance in England. Many students won- 
der that dead people should not all know and recognize 
the fact of reincarnation; but after all why should 
they? When a man dies he resorts to the company of 
those whom he has known on earth; he moves among 
exactly the same kind of people as during physical life. 
The average country grocer is no more likely after 
death than before it to come into contact with any one 
who can give him information about reincarnation. 
Most men are shut in from all new ideas by a host of 
prejudices; they carry these prejudices into the astral 
world with them, and are no more amenable to reason 
and common sense there than here. 

True, a man who is really open-minded can learn a 
great deal on the astral plane ; he may speedily acquaint 
himself with the whole of the Theosophical teaching, 
and there are dead men who do this. Therefore it often 
happens that scraps of Theosophy are found among 
spirit communications. We must not forget that there 
is a higher spiritualism of which the public knows 
nothing, which never publishes any account of its re- 
sults. The best circles of all are strictly private — 
restricted entirely to one family, or to a small number 
of friends. In such circles the same people meet over 
and over again, and no outsider is ever admitted to 
make any change in the magnetism ; so the conditions 
set up are singularly perfect, and the results obtained 
are of the most surprising character. At public seances, 
to which any one may be admitted on payment, an 
altogether lower class of dead people appear, because 
of the promiscuous jumble of inharmonious mag- 



Symbology is a very interesting study. To a certain 
type of mind everything expresses itself in symbols, 
and to some people they are of the greatest possible 
help. I myself do not happen to be of that type, and 
therefore I have not paid special attention to them or 
made any particular study of them. Some of them 
however are obvious, and readily comprehensible to 
any one who understands even a little of the principles 
of their interpretation. Think, for example, of those 
which appear on the earlier pages of The Book of 
Dzyan. On the first page is a white disc, signifying the 
condition of the unmanif ested ; on the second page a 
spot appears in the centre of the white disc, signifying 
the first manifestation — the First Logos, or the Christ 
in the bosom of the Father ; on the third page this spot 
has expanded into a bar, dividing the disc into two 
halves and so signifying the first great separation into 
spirit and matter — also the Second Logos, always 
spoken of as dual or androgynous ; on the fourth page 
another bar has appeared at right angles to the first, 
giving us the forms of a circle divided into four equal 
parts or quarters, signifying the emergence of the 
Third Logos, though He is still in a condition of in- 
activity. On the next page the outer circle falls away, 
leaving us the equal-armed or Greek cross. This de- 
notes the Third Logos ready for action, just about to 
descend into the matter of His cosmos. 

The next stage of this activity is shown by various 
forms of the symbol. Sometimes the arms of the Greek 
cross widen out as they recede from the centre, and 
then we get the form called the Maltese cross. Another 
line of symbology retains the straight arms of the 
Greek cross, but draws a flame shooting out from the 


end of each arm, to signify the burning light within. 
A further extension of this idea sets the cross whirling 
round its centre, like a revolving wheel, and when that 
is done the flames are drawn as streaming backwards 
as the cross revolves, and in that way we get one of 
the most universal of all symbols, that of the svastika, 
which is to be found in every country in the world, and 
in connection with every religion. 

The symbolic meaning of the ordinary Latin cross, 
as it is used in the Christian Church, has no connection 
whatever with this line of thought. Its meaning is 
entirely different, for it symbolizes the Second Logos, 
and His descent into matter, and it is also closely con- 
nected with the initiation rites of ancient Egypt. In 
the case of The Book of Dzyan the comprehension of 
the symbol is enormously assisted by the fact that the 
book itself is highly magnetized in a peculiar way, so 
that when the student who is privileged to see it takes 
one of the pages in his hand a remarkable effect is 
produced upon him. Before his mind's eye arises the 
picture of that which the page is intended to symbolize, 
and simultaneously he hears a sort of recitation of the 
stanza which describes it. It is very difficult to put this 
clearly into words, but the experience is a wonderful 

I have myself seen and handled the copy which 
Madame Blavatsky describes — from the study of which 
she wrote The Secret Doctrine. That is of course not 
the original book, but the copy of it which is kept in 
the occult museum which is under the care of the 
Master K. H. The original document is at Shamballa, 
in the care of the Head of the Hierarchy, and is cer- 
tainly the oldest book in the world. Indeed it has been 
said that part of it (the first six stanzas, I think) is even 
older than the world, for it is said to have been brought 


over from some previous chain. That most ancient 
part is regarded by some as not merely an account of 
the processes of the coming into existence of a system, 
but rather a kind of manual of directions for such an 
act of creation. Even the copy must be millions of 
years old. 

Another well-known symbol is that of the "Great 
Bird," which is used to denote the Deity in the act of 
hovering over His universe, brooding over the waters 
of space, or darting onward along the line of His evolu- 
tion. To repose between the wings of the Great Bird 
means so to meditate as to realize union with the Logos, 
and it is said that the man who reaches that level may 
rest there for untold years. 

The word Om is another presentation of the same 
idea ; it is the sacred word of the fifth or Aryan root- 
race. The Atlantean sacred word was Tau, and it has 
been said that the sacred words given to the root-races 
in succession are all of them consecutive syllables of 
one great word, which is the true sacred Name. 

Another obvious symbol, the heart, was prominent 
in the old Atlantean religion. In the innermost shrine 
of the great temple in the City of the Golden Gate there 
lay upon the altar a massive golden box in the shape of 
a heart, the secret opening of which was known only 
to the high-priest. This was called "The Heart of the 
World," and signified to them the innermost mysteries 
that they knew. In it they kept their most sacred 
things, and much of their symbolism centred around 
it. They knew that every atom beats as a heart, and 
they considered that the sun had a similar movement, 
which they connected with the sun-spot period. Some- 
times one comes across passages in their books which 
give the impression that they knew more than we do 
in matters of science, though they regarded it all rather 


from the poetic than from the scientific point of view. 
They thought, for example, that the earth breathes and 
moves, and it is certainly true that quite recently scien- 
tific men have discovered that there is a regular daily 
displacement of the earth's surface which may be 
thought of as corresponding in a certain way to 

Another symbol is that of the lotus, and it is used to 
signify the solar system in its relation to its LOGOS. 
There is a real reason for this comparison in the actual 
facts of nature. The seven Planetary Logoi, although 
they are great individual entities, are at the same time 
aspects of the Solar Logos, force-centres as it were in 
His body. Now each of these great living centres or 
subsidiary Logoi has a sort of orderly periodic change 
or motion of his own, corresponding perhaps on some 
infinitely higher level to the regular beating of the 
human heart, or to the inspiration and expiration of 
the breath. 

Some of these periodic changes are more rapid than 
others, so that a very complicated series of effects is 
produced, and it has been observed that the movements 
of the physical planets in their relation to one another 
furnish a clue to the operation of these great cosmic 
influences at any given moment. Each of these centres 
has His special location or major focus within the body 
of the sun, and has also a minor focus which is always 
exterior to the sun. The position of this minor focus 
is always indicated by a physical planet. 

The exact relation can hardly be made dear to our 
three-dimensional phraseology; but we may perhaps 
put it that each centre has a field of influence prac- 
tically co-extensive with the solar system ; that if a sec- 
tion of the field could be taken it would be found to be 
elliptical ; and that one of the foci of each ellipse would 


always be in the sun, and the other would be the special 
planet ruled by the subsidiary Logos. It is probable 
that, in the gradual condensation of the original glow- 
ing nebula from which the system was formed, the 
location of the planets was determined by the forma- 
tion of vortices at these minor foci, they being auxiliary 
points of distribution — ganglia as it were in the solar 
system. All the physical planets are included within 
the portion of the system which is common to all the 
ovoids ; so that any one who tries mentally to construct 
the figure will see that these revolving ovoids must 
have their projecting segments, and he will therefore 
be prepared to understand the comparison of the sys- 
tem as a whole to a flower with many petals. 

Another reason for this comparison of the system to 
a lotus is even more beautiful, but requires deeper 
thought. As we see them the planets appear as sep- 
arate globes; but there is in reality a connection be- 
tween them which is out of reach of our brain-con- 
sciousness. Those who have studied the subject of the 
fourth dimension are familiar with the idea of an 
extension in a direction invisible to us, but it may not 
have occurred to them that it is applicable to the solar 
system as a whole. 

We may obtain a suggestion of the facts by holding 
the hand palm upwards bent so as to form a kind of 
cup, but with the fingers separated, and then laying a 
sheet of paper upon the tips of the fingers. A two- 
dimensional being living on the plane of that sheet of 
paper could not possibly be conscious of the hand as a 
whole, but could perceive only the tiny circles at the 
points of contact between the fingers and the paper. 
To him these circles would be entirely unconnected, but 
we, using the sight of a higher dimension, can see that 
each of them has a downward expansion, and that in 


that way they are all parts of a hand. In exactly the 
same way the man using the sight of the fourth dimen- 
sion may observe that the planets which are isolated 
in our three dimensions are all the time joined in an- 
other way which we cannot yet see ; and from the point 
of view of that higher sight these globes are but the 
points of petals which are part of one great flower. 
And the glowing heart of that flower throws up a cen- 
tral pistil which appears to us as the sun. 

It is not wise for the votary of modern science to ridi- 
cule or despise either the learning of old time or the 
strange and fanciful symbols in which it was expressed, 
for many of these ancient symbols are pregnant with 
meaning — often with meaning showing deeper knowl- 
edge than the outer world now possesses. The Theo- 
sophical student at least will avoid the mistake of 
despising anything merely because he does not yet com- 
prehend it — because he has not yet learnt the language 
in which it is written. 


On higher planes everything is what down here we 
should call luminous, and above a certain level every- 
thing may be said to be permeated by fire, yet not at all 
such fire as we know on the physical plane. What we 
call by that name down here cannot exist without some- 
thing which either burns or glows, and it is only a kind 
of reflection or lower expression of a higher abstract 
thing which we cannot sense. Try to think of a fire 
which does not burn, but is in a liquid form, something 
like water. This was known to the followers of the first 
great Zoroaster, for they had this fire which burned no 

FIRE 143 

fuel on their altars, a sacred fire by means of which 
they symbolized divine life. 

One way of reaching the Logos is along the line of 
fire, and the ancient Parsis knew this well, and raised 
themselves until they were one with the fire, so as to 
reach Him by way of it. The only way in which it can 
be done is through the assistance of certain classes of 
devas, but at this period of the world's history we are 
so grossly material that very few can stand the ordeal. 
The first Zoroaster had around him many who were 
able to take that way ; and, though under present condi- 
tions our lower vehicles would probably be destroyed if 
we should make such an attempt, in new races and on 
other planets we shall be able to take that way again. 
All this sounds strange and weird and incomprehen- 
sible, because it deals with conditions which are utterly 
unknown on the physical plane, but the student of 
occultism will find that in the course of his progress he 
has to face many things which cannot at all be ex- 
pressed in words down here. 

QHjtrfc &*rttatt 

©t}* ©tjenanplfual Jkttitnb? 


Common Sense 

1BOVE all things and under all circumstances 
the student of occultism must hold fast to 
common sense. He will meet with many new 
ideas, with many startling facts, and if he 
allows the strangeness of things to overbalance him, 
harm instead of good will result from the increase of 
his knowledge. Many other qualities are desirable for 
progress, but a well-balanced mind is an actual neces- 
sity. The study of occultism may indeed be summed 
up in this : it is the study of much that is unrecognized 
by the ordinary man — the acquisition therefore of a 
great multitude of new facts, and then the adaptation 
of one's life to the new facts in a reasonable and com- 
mon-sense way. All occultism of which I know any- 
thing is simply an apotheosis of common sense. 


The brotherhood of man is a fact in nature ; those 
who deny it are simply those who are blind to it, be- 
cause they shut their eyes to actualities which they do 
not wish to acknowledge. We need waste little time 
over those who deny it; nature itself will refute their 
heresy. More subtly dangerous are those who misun- 
derstand it, and their name is legion. 

Remember not only what brotherhood means, but 



also what it does not mean. It emphatically does not 
mean equality, for twins and triplets are compara- 
tively rare; under all but the most abnormal circum- 
stances, brotherhood implies a difference in age, and 
consequently all sorts of other differences, in strength, 
in cleverness, in capacity. 

Brotherhood implies community of interest, but not 
community of interests. If the family be rich all its 
members profit thereby; if the family be poor, all its 
members suffer accordingly. So there is a community 
of interest. But the individual interests of the brothers 
not only may be, but also for many years must be, abso- 
lutely different. What interests has the boy of four- 
teen in common with his brother of six? Each lives his 
own life among friends of his own age, and has far 
more in common with them than with his brother. 
What cares the elder brother of twenty-five, fighting 
his way in the world, for all the prizes and anxieties 
of school-life which fill the horizon of that second 
brother ? 

It is not to be expected, then, that because they are 
brothers men shall feel alike or be interested in the 
same things. It would not be desirable, even if it were 
possible, for their duties differ according to their ages, 
and the one thing which most promotes the evolution 
of the human family as a whole is that every man 
should strive earnestly to do his duty in that state of 
life to which it shall please God to call him, as the 
Church catechism puts it. This does not in the least 
imply that every man must always remain in the sta- 
tion in which his karma has placed him at birth ; if he 
can honestly and harmlessly make such further karma 
as will raise him out of it he is at perfect liberty to do 
so. But at whatever stage he may be, he should do the 
duties of that stage. The child grows steadily; but 


while he is at a certain age, his duties are those appro- 
priate to that age, and not those of some older brother. 
Each age has its duties — the younger to learn and to 
serve, and the older to direct and protect ; but all alike 
to be loving and helpful, all alike to try to realize the 
idea of the great family of humanity. Each will best 
help his brothers, not by interfering with them, but by 
trying earnestly to do his own duty as a member of this 

The brotherhood of our Society ought to be a very 
real thing. It is important that we should recognize 
and realize a close fellowship, a feeling of real unity 
and drawing together. This will be achieved if mem- 
bers will forget their own personal feelings and think 
chiefly of the interests of others. The heart of the 
Society is making for itself a body on the buddhic 
plane, a channel through which the Great Ones can 
work. The perfection of the channel as such depends 
upon the attitude of the earnest and devoted members. 
As yet it is very imperfect, because of the tendency of 
each member to think too much of himself as a unit, 
and too little of the good and well-being of the whole. 
The stones of the wall must be built each in its own 
place ; one standing out of place here, or projecting 
there, causes roughness, and the wall as a whole is a 
less perfect wall. We form but a little part of a vast 
scheme, one wheel as it were of a machine. It is for us 
to make ourselves really fit for our little part; if we 
do that, though we may be quite unfit to take a leading 
position in the drama of the world, yet what little we 
do is well done and lasting, and will honourably fill its 
place in the greater whole. 

You are all aware that in seven hundred years' time 
our two Masters will commence the founding of the 
sixth root-race, and that even already They are looking 


about for those who will be suitable assistants for 
Them in that work. But there is something nearer 
than that to be done — and it is a work which will afford 
excellent practice in developing the qualities necessary 
for that larger work ; and this is the development of the 
sixth sub-race of the Aryan race, which is now just 
beginning to be formed in North America. Already 
signs are to be seen of the preparations for this work ; 
different races are being welded together in one; and 
we too have our part to play in this. We all recognize 
how important it is that a child's early years should 
be surrounded by good influences, and it is just the 
same with the childhood of a race. If we can succeed 
in starting this young race along right lines much will 
be gained ; and we, even at this distance from America, 
can be of great help at this critical period of history, if 
we will. 

Part of the scheme very shortly to be realized is the 
drawing together of the various branches of our fifth 
sub-race, the Teutonic. Many of us belong to that — 
the English colonies, the Americans, the Scandina- 
vians, the Dutch and the Germans; and many also in 
France and Italy, as for example the Normans, who 
are the descendants of the Norsemen, and also those in 
southern countries who are descendants of the Goths 
and Visigoths. What is desired in order to promote 
the work of the great plan is that all these races should 
be drawn into much closer sympathy. This has already 
been achieved to a great extent in the case of England 
and America; it is very much to be regretted that it 
cannot be done in the case of Germany also, but for the 
present that great country seems disposed to hold aloof 
from the desired coalition, and to stand out for what it 
considers its own private interests. It is much to be 
hoped that this difficulty may be overcome. 


The great purpose of this drawing together is to pre- 
pare the way for the coming of the new Messiah, or, 
as we should say in Theosophical circles, the next 
advent of the Lord Maitreya, as a great spiritual 
teacher, bringing a new religion. The time is rapidly 
approaching when this shall be launched — a teaching 
which shall unify the other religions, and compared 
with them shall stand upon a broader basis and keep 
its purity longer. But before this can come about we 
must have got rid of the incubus of war, which at 
present is always hanging over our heads like a great 
spectre, paralyzing the best intellects of all countries 
as regards social experiments, making it impossible for 
our statesmen to try new plans and methods on a large 
scale. Therefore one essential towards carrying out 
the scheme is a period of universal peace. Many efforts 
have already been made in various ways to bring 
about this result — for example the Peace Conference ; 
but it seems that some other way will have to be 

If we of the fifth sub-race can but put aside our 
prejudices and stand side by side, a great work lies 
before us in the future. Ours is the latest sub-race, 
and therefore contains, generally speaking, the high- 
est egos in evolution. Yet the majority of the people 
in it are by no means ready to respond to a purely 
unselfish motive as a means of bringing about the uni- 
versal peace required. 

How then can this best be attained ? By making it to 
the interest of all these nations to insist upon universal 
peace. Remember that trade suffers during war. We 
of these various branches of the Teutonic race are the 
greatest trading nations of the world, and I hope that 
we may shortly realize that it is to our interest to bind 
ourselves together, and to stand for peace. Truly this 


is not a very high motive, for it is merely self-interest ; 
but still when the rulers and great statesmen are moved 
to desire unity from the abstract love for humanity, 
this lower motive may help to bring their less developed 
fellow-countrymen into line with them, and cause them 
warmly to support any movement which they may set 
on foot for that object. 

All sorts of events are being utilized to help this 
binding together of our race. For example, the death 
of Her Majesty the late Queen Victoria was very decid- 
edly utilized for that purpose. Her life did very much 
in drawing the Colonies together into closer bonds with 
the Mother-country. Those who saw the Jubilee pro- 
cession from the psychic standpoint were greatly im- 
pressed with the mighty current of high emotion 
thereby evoked. In her life she did much, but at her 
death still more was accomplished. By her death she 
drew close not only our Colonies, but also the United 
States. I was in America at the time of her death, and 
really it might have been their own ruler for whom the 
Americans were mourning, so spontaneous and so sin- 
cere were their expressions of the sense of loss. So in 
her death the great Queen did grand service, as well 
as in her life. 

Each race has its own peculiarities, just as each indi- 
vidual has. If we wish to co-operate in the great work 
we must learn to allow for these, to be tolerant of them, 
and to regard them with a kindly interest, instead of 
sneering at them or letting them get on our nerves. 
What then can we do practically to help these great 
national affairs ? This at least : that when in our pres- 
ence unkind or sneering remarks are made about other 
nations, we can make a point of always putting for- 
ward considerations on the other side, and saying some- 
thing kindly. We may not always be able to contradict 


the evil thing said, but at least we may supplement 
it with something that is good. 

There are perhaps but few of us, but at least in the 
course of a year each of us probably meets at least a 
thousand others, and each of us may to that extent be 
a centre for helping our own nation to see good in 
others, and thus, though it may be only in a small way, 
we may be able to smooth the path and make the way 
for union easier. Many people are constantly in the 
habit of speaking with narrow prejudice against the 
peculiarities of other nations ; let us at least take care 
not to do this, but always bear in mind the importance 
of promoting friendly feeling. Do not let us despair 
when we think how little each one of us can do in the 
matter ; let us rather remember that every little effort 
will be used by Those who are working from behind. 
No doubt the scheme will be carried out whether or not 
we take the privilege which is offered to us of helping 
in it; but that is no reason why we should not do our 

Nor is it only good people who are used in the promo- 
tion of the scheme. All sorts of forces are being used 
by the Great Brotherhood that stands behind to for- 
ward the necessary work. Yes, even the very selfish- 
ness and the failings of men. ''Blindly the wicked work 
the righteous will of heaven," as Southey writes in 
Thalaba. And "All things work together for good to 
them that love God." This was spoken as regards per- 
sonal karma, but the same thing holds good in regard 
to greater and broader schemes. For example, the big- 
otry of the Christian Church, evil though it is, has not 
been altogether valueless, for it has helped to develope 
strength of faith, since the ignorant cannot believe 
strongly without being bigoted. Self-seeking in com- 
mercial pursuits is evil also, yet it has in it a certain 


power which can be turned to account by those who 
stand behind, for it developes strength of will and con- 
centration, qualities which in a future life may be put 
to most valuable uses. 

We each have an opportunity to help in this scheme, 
to co-operate on the side of good. If we do not take 
the opportunity offered to us, another will, and if not 
that other, then another, but in any case the work will 
be done. 

We know that already some to whom the opportunity 
has been offered have cast it aside ; but that is only all 
the more reason why we should work with greater 
vigour, so as to atone for their defection — to do their 
share as well as our own. Never for a moment must 
we fear that because of such defection the work will be 
allowed to suffer. We cannot but regret that our poor 
friends should lose their opportunities — that from ig- 
norance and lack of clear-sightedness they are working 
so sadly against their own interests. Yet remember 
that their folly is but temporary; they will awaken to 
the truth some day — if not in this life, then in some 
other. Meantime inside all is well, and the Great Work 
is going forward. 

The evolution of the world is, after all, like any other 
large undertaking. Think of the making of a railway, 
for instance. It does not matter to the railway com- 
pany or to the future passengers which workman lays 
a certain rail or drives a certain bolt, so long as it is 
well and truly done; and the overseer will attend to 
that. It matters very much to the workman, for he 
who works receives the pay, while the other gets noth- 
ing. The overseer regrets it when a workman goes off 
in a fit of temper or of drunkenness and refuses to work 
for a day; but he thinks, "Never mind, he will come 
back tomorrow," and meantime he employs some one 


else. Many have left the work in just that way in an 
outburst of personality, but they will return. The 
question is not as to whether the work shall be done — 
the Masters will see to that in any case ; it is only as to 
who will embrace the opportunity of doing it. 

Many people who contend bitterly against the right 
are merely showing that they are not yet fit to pass this 
test; they have not yet reached the stage where they 
can forget themselves utterly in the work; their per- 
sonalities are still rampant, and so they are capable of 
being shocked and thrown off their balance, if some 
new fact comes before them. It is sad, of course, but it 
is only temporary; they have lost a good opportunity 
for this life, because they are not yet strong enough 
for it; but there are many lives yet to come. Mean- 
time others will take their places. Never forget that 
the one thing of importance is that the Masters' work 
should be done ; let us at least be among those who are 
doing it now, even though there are many who cannot 
yet see clearly enough to help us. They repudiate the 
Masters for this life, like a naughty little boy who gets 
angry with his parents, and in a fit of passion runs 
away and hides himself; but presently hunger brings 
the naughty little boy home again, and in the same way 
hunger for the truth which they have once tasted will 
bring most of them back to the feet of the Masters in 
their next lives. Meantime let us stand firm, and fill 
our hearts with peace even in the midst of strife. 

If we would rise to our opportunity we must rub 
down our corners and get rid of our awkward person- 
alities, and forget them in encouraging good feeling in 
every possible way. If we hear something said against 
somebody else let us at once try to put the other side, 
and this both with regard to nations and individuals. 
Counterbalance the evil by speaking the good — not to 


give a false impression, but to give the best possible 
aspect or interpretation of the facts. Our work is to 
make the machine run smoothly, and neutralize the 
friction. Our aim is to be a united whole as a Society, 
and to help towards harmony in the outside world. The 
scheme is great, the opportunity glorious; shall we 
take it? 

Yet beware lest you should make the idea of prepar- 
ing yourself for grand work in the future an excuse for 
neglecting the minor opportunities of every-day life. 
A good example of what I mean is offered by a letter 
which I recently received, in which the writer says that 
he finds himself in the position of having to teach a 
Theosophical Branch, and that he feels it a great re- 
sponsibility, of which he cannot think himself worthy 
because his knowledge is at present so imperfect. Now 
in reply to this I shall say : 

Do not be in the least troubled about your position 
towards your Branch. Assuredly it is a responsibility 
to teach, but on the other hand it is a very great priv- 
ilege. Think of it rather in this way, that here are a 
number of hungry souls, and Those who stand behind 
have been so kind to you as to give you the opportunity 
of being the channel through which these can be fed. 
You have the broad principles of the teaching clearly 
in mind, and your own common sense will keep you 
from going far wrong in details. I admire your ex- 
treme consciousness, but if you keep these main prin- 
ciples steadily before your pupils, you are very little 
likely to go wrong in your teaching. 

We all have the responsibility of which you speak, 
and those of us who have to write the books and give 
the lectures feel it far more acutely than you can imag- 
ine. Indeed we have sometimes been told by friends 
that we ought to have attained adeptship before we 


wrote any books, so that it might be quite certain that 
there should be no mistakes in them. I can only say 
that we decided to share our imperfect knowledge with 
our brothers, even while we still have very much to ac- 
quire; and I think that the result has justified our de- 
cision. If we had waited until we attained adeptship, 
it is true that our books would have been perfect — 
and they are very far from being perfect now — but 
then you see you would all have had to wait a thousand 
years or so for them, which would have made a con- 
siderable difference to the work of the Society in the 
present century. It seems to me that the problem that 
lies before you is an exactly similar one. You also 
might refrain from teaching until you knew every- 
thing; but what would become of your Branch in the 
meantime ? 

Helping the World 

One of the first qualifications which are required for 
the treading of the Path is single-mindedness or one- 
pointedness. Even worldly men succeed because they 
are one-pointed, and we can learn from them the value 
of determination on our own line. Our goal is not so 
tangible as theirs, so we have more difficulty in keep- 
ing the one-pointed attitude of mind ; but in India the 
importance of the unseen is more easily realized than 
in the West. It is good to seek the company of those 
who are more advanced, to whom the realities of the 
Path are constantly present ; also to read and hear and 
think about our purpose frequently, and unwaveringly 
to practise the virtues by which alone the perfect 
knowledge can come to us. 

This is an age of hurry and scurry ; the tendency is 


for people to do a little of many things, but nothing 
thoroughly — to flutter from one thing to another. No 
man now devotes his life to a masterpiece, as was often 
done in the Middle Ages in Europe, in old days in 

Occultism changes a man's life in many ways, but in 
none more than in this; it makes him absolutely one- 
pointed. Of course I do not mean that it causes him 
to neglect any duty that he used to do ; on the contrary, 
the never-ceasing watch to fulfil every duty is its first 
prescription. But it gives him a keynote of life which 
is always sounding in his ears, which he never forgets 
for an instant — the key-note of helpfulness. Why? 
Because he learns what is the plan of the Logos, and 
tries to co-operate in it. 

This involves many lines of action. To be able to 
help effectively he must make himself fit to help ; hence 
he must undertake the most careful self-training, the 
elimination of evil qualities from himself, the develop- 
ment of good ones. Also he must maintain a constant 
watchfulness for opportunities to help. 

One special method of helping the world lies ready 
to the hand of members of our Society — that of spread- 
ing Theosophic truth. We have no right and no desire 
to force our ideas on any one, but it is our duty and 
our privilege to give people the opportunity of know- 
ing the real explanation of the problems of life. If 
when the water of life is offered, a man will not drink, 
that is his own affair; but at least we should see that 
none perishes through ignorance of the existence of 
that water. 

We have then this duty of spreading the truth, and 
nothing should be allowed to interfere with it. This 
is the work that as a Society we have to do, and we 
must remember that the duty is binding upon each of 


us. Our minds must be filled with it, we must be con- 
stantly thinking and planning for it, seizing every op- 
portunity that offers. It is not for us to excuse our- 
selves because some other member seems to be doing 
nothing; that is his business, and we are in no wav 
concerned in it; but if we ourselves neglect to do our 
very best, we are failing in our duty. It was not to illu- 
mine our own path that this glorious light came to 
us, but that we also in our turn might be light-bearers 
to our suffering brothers. 


If we wish to make any progress in occultism, we 
must learn to mind our own business and let other 
people alone. They have their reasons and their lines 
of thought which we do not understand. To their own 
Master they stand or fall. Once more, we have our 
work to do, and we decline to be diverted from it. 
We must learn charity and tolerance, and repress the 
mad desire to be always finding fault with someone 

It is a mad desire, and it dominates modern life — 
this spirit of criticism. Every one wants to interfere 
with somebody else's duty, instead of attending to his 
own ; every one thinks he can do the other man's work 
better than it is being done. We see it in politics, in 
religion, in social life. For example the obvious duty 
of a Government is to govern, and the duty of its people 
is to be good citizens and to make that work of gov- 
ernment easy and effective. But in these days people 
are so eager to teach their Governments how to gov- 
ern that they forget all about their own primary duty 


of being good citizens. Men will not realize that if 
they will but do their duties, karma will look after the 
"rights" about which they are so clamorous. 

How comes this spirit of criticism to be so general 
and so savage at this stage of the world's history? 
Like most other evils, it is the excess of a good and 
necessary quality. In the course of evolution we have 
arrived at the fifth sub-race of the fifth root-race. I 
mean that that race is the latest yet developed, that 
its spirit is dominant in the world just now, and that 
even those who do not belong to it are necessarily much 
influenced by that spirit. 

Now each race has its own special lessons to learn, 
its own special quality to unfold. The quality of the 
fifth-race is what is sometimes called manas — the type 
of intellect that discriminates, that notes the differ- 
ences between things. When it is perfectly developed, 
men will note these differences calmly, solely for the 
purpose of understanding them and judging which is 
best. But now, in this stage of half-development most 
people look for differences from their own point of 
view not in order to understand them but in order to 
oppose them — often violently to persecute them. It 
is simply the point of view of the ignorant and un- 
evolved man, who is full of intolerance and self-con- 
ceit, absolutely sure that he is right (perhaps he may 
be up to a certain point) and that everybody else there- 
fore must be entirely wrong — which does not follow. 
Remember that Oliver Cromwell said to his council : 
"Brethren, I beseech you in the sacred name of the 
Christ to think it possible that you may sometimes 
mistake !" 

We too must develop the critical faculty; but we 
should criticise ourselves, not others. 

There are always two sides to every question; gen- 


erally more than two. Kritein means to judge; there- 
fore, criticism is useless and can only do harm unless 
it is absolutely calm and judicial. It is not a mad 
attack upon the opponent, but a quiet unprejudiced 
weighing of reasons for and against a certain opinion 
or a certain course of action. We may decide in one 
way, but we must recognize that another man of equal 
intellect may emphasize another aspect of the ques- 
tion, and therefore, decide quite otherwise. And yet 
in so deciding he may be just as good, just as wise, 
just as honest as we ourselves. 

Yet how few recognize that; how few rabid prot- 
estants really believe Catholics to be good men; how 
few convinced redhot radicals really believe that an old 
Tory squire may be just as good and earnest a man as 
themselves, trying honestly to do what he thinks his 

If a man comes to a decision different from our own 
we need not pretend to agree with him, but we must 
give him credit for good intentions. One of the worst 
features of modern life is its eager readiness to believe 
evil — its habit of deliberately seeking out the worst 
conceivable construction that can be put upon every- 
thing. And this attitude is surely at its very worst 
when adopted towards those who have helped us, to 
whom we owe thanks for knowledge or inspiration 
received. Remember the words of the Master: "In- 
gratitude is not one of our vices." It is always a mis- 
take to rush madly into criticism of those who know 
more than we; it is more seemly to wait and think 
matters over, to wait and see what the future brings 
forth. Apply the test of time and the result; "By 
their fruits ye shall know them." Let us make a rule 
to think the best of every man ; let us do our work and 
leave others free to do theirs. 



Beware of the beginnings of suspicion : it will distort 
everything. I have seen it come between friends and 
noticed how a little suspicion soon grows into a giant 
misunderstanding. Every harmless word is distorted, 
and mistaken to be the expression of some unkind or 
improper motive, while all the time the speaker is 
utterly unconscious of the suspicion. It is the same 
when opinions differ about books or religion; a slight 
difference of opinion is fostered by dwelling upon all 
that tells on one's own side and against the other side, 
until the result is an absurdly distorted view. One 
finds it again with colour prejudice, although those 
now wearing white bodies have worn brown ones and 
vice versa, and the habits of one have been or will be 
the habits of the other. Brotherhood means the get- 
ting rid of prejudices; knowledge of the fact of rein- 
carnation ought to help us to overcome our limitations 
and uncharitableness. 

We who are students of the higher life must rise 
above these prejudices. It is a difficult task, because 
they are ingrained — prejudices of race, of caste, of 
religion ; but they must all be rooted out, because they 
prevent clear sight and true judgment. They are like 
coloured glass — still more like cheap, imperfect glass ; 
everything seen through them is distorted, often so 
much so as to look entirely different from what it really 
is. Before we can judge and discriminate we must 
see clearly. 

It is always very easy to attribute some evil motive 
to others whom we have allowed ourselves to dislike, 
and to discover some evil explanation for their acts. 
This tendency forms a very serious impediment in the 
path of progress. We must tear away our own per- 


sonalities, for only then shall we be at all able to see 
the other person as he is. A prejudice is a kind of 
wart upon the mental body, and of course when a man 
tries to look out through that particular part of the 
body he cannot see clearly. It is in reality a congested 
spot in the mental body, a point at which the matter 
is no longer living and flowing, but is stagnant and rot- 
ten. The way to cure it is to acquire more knowledge, 
to get the matter of the mental body into motion, and 
then one by one the prejudices will be washed away 
and dissolved. 

This evil effect of prejudice was what Aryasangha 
meant when he said, in The Voice of the Silence, that the 
mind was the great slayer of the real. By that he 
was drawing attention to the fact that we do not see 
any object as it is. We see only the images that we 
are able to make of it, and everything is necessarily 
coloured for us by these thought-forms of our own 
creation. Notice how two persons with preconceived 
ideas, seeing the same set of circumstances, and agree- 
ing as to the actual happenings, will yet make two 
totally different stories from them. Exactly this sort 
of thing is going on all the time with every ordinary 
man, and we do not realize how absurdly we distort 

The duty of the Theosophical student is to learn to 
see things as they are, and this means control, vigi- 
lance and a very great deal of hard work. In the West, 
for example, people are very much prejudiced along 
religious lines, for we are born into a certain religion 
and sedulously taught that all others are superstitions. 
Our ideas therefore are biased from the first, and even 
when we do learn to know a little about other relig- 
ions and respect them it would be difficult for us to 
imagine ourselves born into them. Those who are 


Hindus can scarcely think of themselves as being born 
as Christians or Muhammadans, and just in the same 
way the Christian or Muhammadan has an equal diffi- 
culty in thinking of himself as a Hindu or a Buddhist, 
although it is practically certain that in some past life 
he has been in one or other of these religions. 

Many so-called protestant Christians will not even 
now trust a Roman Catholic, and the more ignorant 
people are, the greater is their distrust of that to which 
they are unaccustomed. The peasantry, for example, 
have an instinctive distrust of all foreigners, and 
there are many country places in England where, let 
us say, a Frenchman, unless in poverty and needing 
help, would certainly be regarded with suspicion. If 
he is hungry he will be fed, and treated with com- 
passion; but let him come as a fellow-workman and 
all that he does will be criticised, laughed at, and sus- 
pected. Now of course all this comes from ignorance, 
and occurs because the peasantry are unaccustomed to 
meeting with foreigners. 

The removal of such prejudice is one of the great 
advantages gained by an intelligent man when he trav- 
els. In the Theosophical Society men of different na- 
tions are being drawn much more closely together; 
Indians are learning to trust white people, and white 
people in turn are learning that Indians are much the 
same as themselves. I was working in Amsterdam 
during the Boer war, and though in Holland generally 
there was a strong feeling at the time against Eng- 
land, there was never the slightest trace of it among 
the Dutch Theosophical members. It is most inter- 
esting to attend one of the European Theosophical 
Conferences, and to see the really hearty good feeling 
which exists between men of different nations — how 
unfeignedly glad they are to see one another, and how 


they rejoice in one another's company. One sees at 
once that if such fellow-feeling as exists between the 
members of the Theosophical Society could only spread 
to a majority of their fellow-countrymen in the vari- 
ous nations, war would at once become a ridiculous 

As things are now we form opinions on very slight 
grounds; you meet a person for the first time, and 
something that he says, or some trivial gesture, arouses 
in you a little dislike of him, so that there is a slight 
wall between you and him. This may seem an unim- 
portant matter, yet if you are not careful that slight 
bias against the person will grow into a barrier which 
will for ever prevent you from understanding him. 
To a certain extent you see him through this thought- 
form that you have made, and you cannot see him cor- 
rectly, for it is like looking through a twisted and col- 
oured glass which distorts everything. 

Sometimes, but not so often, a prejudice is in favour 
of the person, as in the case of a mother who can see 
no harm in what her child does, even though he may 
seriously harm others. Now whether they be against 
a person or in favour of him, both of these are equally 
prejudices, mental delusions which slay the real. The 
best way to see truly is to begin determinedly to look 
always for the good in every one, as our prejudices 
are generally on the other side, and we are sadly prone 
to see the evil where none exists. We differ from other 
people in colour, in dress, in manners and customs, and 
in outer forms of religion, but all these are merely 
externals, and all that goes to make up the real man 
behind and beneath all this is much the same in us all. 
It is not after all so difficult to learn to look behind 
the outer shells in which people conceal themselves. 
Thereby they usually make the worst of themselves, 


for the main faults nearly always lie on the surface, 
and the real gold is often successfully concealed. One 
who aspires to make progress must overcome this blind- 
ness to the worth of others, this tendency to judge by 
surface characteristics. 

Remember that no one who desires to stand on the 
side of good as against evil can ever be refused the 
opportunity, no matter how ignorant or bigoted he may 
be. The Masters always take the good and use it wher- 
ever it appears, even if there is in the same man much 
that is bad also ; and Their use of this force for good 
greatly helps the man who has generated it. For exam- 
ple, They will use the devotional force which is to be 
found even in a murderous fanatic, and thus They will 
allow him to do some good work and consequently to 
be helped. 

We also should imitate the Great ones; we should 
always try to take the good in everything and every- 
body. Do not look for and accentuate the evil in any 
one, but select and emphasize the good. Go on doing 
your own work to the best of your ability, and do not 
trouble yourself about the work of another, or about 
how he is doing it. Even if other people make diffi- 
culties in your way, climb over them and do not worry ; 
they are your karma, and after all these things from 
outside do not really matter. Do not make the mistake 
of thinking that others are trying to thwart your good 
purposes. All these people are much like yourself; 
think of it — would you deliberately choose to do a 
wicked thing like that? 

curiosity 167 


Be so centred in your work that you have no time 
to find fault with others, or to pry into their affairs. 
If only each man would mind his own business the 
world would be infinitely happier. 

This prying into other people's affairs works much 
of evil, and it is quite accurate to say that the person 
who does it is suffering from a disease. The man who 
is prying is not usually doing it for the purpose of 
helping, but simply to satisfy his curiosity about some- 
thing which does not concern him, which is sympto- 
matic of his disease. Another symptom is that the 
man cannot keep to himself the information which he 
has so nefariously acquired, but must everlastingly 
be pouring it out to others as foolish and as wicked 
as himself. For it is wicked beyond all doubt, this 
gossip — one of the wickedest things in the world. 
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred what is said is an 
absolute fabrication, but it does an enormous amount 
of harm. 

It is not only the damage done to another person's 
reputation ; that is the least part of the evil. The gos- 
sip and his pestilential cronies perpetually make 
thought-forms of some evil quality which they choose 
to attribute to their victim, and then proceed to hurl 
them upon him in an unceasing stream. The natural 
effect of this will be to awaken in him the evil qual- 
ity of which they accuse him, if there is anything at 
all in his nature which will respond to their malicious 
efforts. In the one case out of a hundred in which 
there is some truth in their spiteful prattle, their 
thought-forms intensify the evil, and so they pile up 
for themselves a store of the terrible karma which 
comes from leading a brother into sin. Theosophists 


especially should be careful to avoid these evils, be- 
cause many of them are making some effort in the di- 
rection of developing psychic powers, and if they 
should use those for the purpose of prying into other 
people's affairs or for sending evil thoughts to them, 
their karma would be of the most terrible nature. 

Never speak unless you know, and not even then 
unless you are absolutely certain that some definite 
good will come of it. Before you speak ask yourself 
about what you are going to say: "Is it true? Is it 
kind? Is it useful?" And unless you can answer 
these three questions in the affirmative, your duty is 
to remain silent. I am well aware that an absolute 
following of this rule would reduce the conversation 
of the world by about ninety per cent, but that would 
be an unspeakable advantage, and the world would 
advance much more rapidly. 

When we understand the underlying unity of all we 
cannot be otherwise than helpful, we cannot stand 
aside from our brother's sorrow. Of course there 
may be many cases where physical aid is impossible, 
but at least we can always give the help of sympathy, 
compassion and love, and this is clearly our duty. For 
a man who realizes Theosophy harshness is impossible. 
Any member who acts roughly or coarsely is failing 
in his Theosophy, and if he fails in patience he is 
failing in comprehension. To understand all is to 
forgive all, to love all. Every man has his own point 
of view, and the shortest road for one man is not by 
any means necessarily the best for another. Every 
man has a perfect right to take his own evolution in 
hand in his own way, and to do with regard to it what 
he chooses, so long as he does not cause suffering or 
inconvenience to any one else. It is emphatically not 
our business to try to put everybody right, but only 


to see that all is right on our side in our relation with 
others. Before we undertake an effort to force some- 
one else into our path it will be best for us carefully 
to examine his, for it may be better for him. We ought 
to be always ready to help freely to the fullest extent 
of our power, but we ought never to interfere. 

Know Thyself 

The old Greek saying Gnothi seauton, know thyself, 
is a fine piece of advice, and self-knowledge is abso- 
lutely necessary to any candidate for progress. And 
yet we must beware lest our necessary self-examina- 
tion should degenerate into morbid introspection, as 
it often does with some of the best of our students. 
Many people are constantly worrying themselves lest 
unawares they should be "sliding back," as they call 
it. If they understood the method of evolution a little 
better they would see that no one can slide back when 
the whole current is moving steadily forward. 

As a torrent comes rushing down a slope, many little 
eddies are formed behind rocks, or perhaps where the 
water is whirling round and round, and therefore for 
the moment some of it is moving backward; but yet 
the whole body of water, eddies and all, is being swept 
on in the rush of the torrent, so that even that which 
is apparently moving backwards in relation to the rest 
of the stream is really being hurried forward along 
with the rest. Even the people who are doing nothing 
towards their evolution, and let everything go as it 
will, are all the while gradually evolving, because of 
the irresistible force of the Logos which is steadily 
pressing them onwards ; but they are moving so slowly 


that it will take them millions of years of incarna- 
tion and trouble and uselessness to gain even a step. 

The method in which this is managed is delightfully 
simple and ingenious. All the evil qualities in man are 
vibrations of the lower matter of the respective planes. 
In the astral body, for example, selfishness, anger, ha- 
tred, jealousy, sensuality, and all qualities of this kind 
are invariably expressed by vibrations of the lower 
type of astral matter, while love, devotion, sympathy, 
and emotions of that class are expressed only in mat- 
ter of the three higher sub-planes. From this flow 
two remarkable results. It must be borne in mind 
that each sub-plane of the astral vehicle has a special 
relation to the corresponding sub-plane in the mental 
body ; or to put it more accurately, the four lower sub- 
planes of the astral correspond to the four kinds of 
matter in the mental body, while the three higher cor- 
respond to the causal vehicle. 

Therefore it will be seen that only higher qualities 
can be built into the causal body, since the vibrations 
created by the lower can find in it no matter which is 
capable of responding to them. Thence it emerges 
that while any good which the man developes within 
himself records itself permanently by a change in his 
causal body, the evil which he does and thinks and 
feels cannot possibly touch the real ego, but can only 
cause disturbance and trouble to the mental body, which 
is renewed for each fresh incarnation. Of course the 
result of this evil does store itself in the mental and 
astral permanent atoms, and so the man has to face 
it over and over again, but that is a very different 
matter from taking it into the ego and making it really 
a part of himself. 

The second remarkable result produced is that a 
certain amount of force directed towards good pro- 


duces an enormously greater effect in proportion than 
the same amount of force directed towards evil. If a 
man throws a certain amount of energy into some evil 
quality it has to express itself through the lower and 
heavier astral matter; and while any kind of astral 
matter is exceedingly subtle as compared with anything 
on the physical plane, yet as compared with the higher 
matter of its own plane it is just as gross as lead is on 
the physical plane when compared with the finest ether. 

If therefore a man should exert exactly the same 
amount of force in the direction of good, it would have 
to move through the much finer matter of these higher 
sub-planes and would produce at least a hundred times 
as much effect, or if we compare the lowest with the 
highest, probably more than a thousand times. Re- 
member that even in addition to what has been said as 
to the effect of force in different grades of matter, we 
have the other great fact that the Logos Himself is by 
His resistless power steadily pressing the whole sys- 
tem onwards and upwards, and that, however slow 
this cyclic progression may seem to us, it is a fact 
which cannot be neglected, for its effect is that a man 
who accurately balances his good and evil comes back, 
not to the same actual position, but to the same rela- 
tive position, and therefore even he has made some 
slight advance, and is as it were in a position just a 
little better than that which he has actually deserved 
and made for himself. 

It will be clear from these considerations that, if any 
one is so foolish as to want to get really backwards 
against the stream, he will have to work hard and 
definitely towards evil; there is no fear of "sliding" 
back. That is one of the old delusions which remains 
from the times of the belief in the orthodox devil, who 
was so much stronger than God that everything in 


the world was working in his favour. Really the exact 
opposite is the case, and everything round a man is 
calculated to assist him, if he only understands it. 

So many of our most conscientious people are just 
like the child who has a little garden of his own, and 
constantly pulls up his plants to see how the roots are 
growing — with the result of course that nothing grows 
at all. We must learn not to think of ourselves per- 
sonally, nor of our personal progress, but enter the 
path of development, go on working for others to the 
best of our ability, and trust our progress to take care 
of itself. The more a scientist thinks about himself 
the less mental energy he has for the problems of 
science; the more a devotee thinks about himself the 
less devotion has he to lavish upon his object. 

Some self-examination is necessary, but it is a fatal 
mistake to spend too much time in self-examination; 
it is like spending all one's time in oiling and tinker- 
ing at the machinery. We use what faculties we have, 
and in the use of them others will develope and true 
progress will be made. If you are learning a language, 
for example, it is a mistake to try to learn it from 
books quite perfectly before you make any attempt to 
speak it; you must plunge into it, and make mistakes 
in it, and in the effort you will learn in due course to 
speak without mistake. So in the course of time what 
is called renunciation will come naturally, and even 
easily. No doubt when men first attempt to live the 
higher life they do definitely renounce many things 
which are pleasures to others — which still have a strong 
attraction even for them ; but soon the man finds that 
the attraction of such pleasures has ceased, and that 
he has neither time nor inclination for the lower en- 

Learn above all things not to worry. Be happy, and 


make the best of everything. Try to raise yourself 
and help others. Contentment is not incompatible 
with aspirations. Optimism is justified by the cer- 
tainty of the ultimate triumph of good, though if we 
take only the physical plane into account it is not easy 
to maintain that position. One's attitude in this mat- 
ter depends chiefly upon the level at which one habit- 
ually keeps one's consciousness. If it is centred chiefly 
in the physical plane one sees little but the misery, but 
when it becomes possible to centre it at a higher level 
the joy beyond always shines through. I know the 
Buddha said that life was misery, and it is quite true 
on the whole with regard to the manifested life down 
here, yet the Greeks and Egyptians managed to extract 
much joy even from this lower life by taking it from 
the philosophical point of view. 

We never lose anything by making the best of things, 
but gain very much in happiness and in the power of 
making others happy. As our sympathy and our love 
grow we shall be able to receive within ourselves all 
the streams of emotion and of thought which come to 
us from others, and yet we shall remain within our- 
selves unaffected, calm and joyous, like the great ocean 
which receives the waters of many rivers and yet 
remains always in equilibrium. 

The inner life of an aspirant ought not to be one of 
continual oscillation. Outer moods change constantly 
because they are affected by all sorts of outside influ- 
ences. If you find yourself depressed, it may be due 
to any one of half-a-dozen reasons, none of them of any 
real importance. The physical body is a fertile source 
of such ills; a trifling indigestion, a slight congestion 
in the circulation, or a little over-fatigue may account 
for many conditions which feel quite serious. Even 
more frequently depression is caused by the presence 


of some astral entity who is himself depressed, and is 
hovering round you either in search of sympathy or in 
the hope of drawing from you the vitality which he 
lacks. We must simply learn to disregard depression 
altogether — to throw it off as a sin and a crime against 
our neighbors, which it really is ; but, anyhow, whether 
we can succeed fully in dispersing its clouds or not we 
must learn simply to go on as though it were not there. 

Your mind is your own mind, into which you should 
allow entrance only to such thoughts as you, the ego, 
choose. Your astral body is also your own, and you 
should not allow in it any sensations except those which 
are good for the higher self. So you must manage 
these vibrations of depression, and absolutely decline 
to give harbourage to them. They must not be allowed 
to impinge upon you. If they do so impinge they must 
not be permitted to effect a lodgment. If, to some 
slight extent, in spite of your efforts, they do hang 
about you, then it is your duty to ignore them and to 
let no one else know that they even exist. 

Sometimes people tell me they have had moments of 
splendid inspiration and exaltation, and glowing de- 
votion and joy. They do not realize that these are 
precisely the moments when the higher self succeeds 
in impressing himself upon the lower, and that all that 
which they feel is there all the time, but the lower self 
is not always conscious of it. Realize by reason and by 
faith that it is always there, and it becomes as though 
we felt it, even in the time when the link is imperfect 
and down here we feel it not. 

But many a man, while admitting the truth of this 
in the abstract, yet says that he cannot perpetually feel 
this happiness because of his own defects and constant 
failures. His attitude in fact is very much that adopted 
in the litany: "Have mercy upon us miserable sin- 


ners." Now we are all sinners in the sense that we all 
fall short of what we ought to do, and constantly do 
what we ought not to do, but there is no need to aggra- 
vate the offense by being miserable sinners. A miser- 
able person is a public nuisance, because he is a centre 
of infection, and is spreading misery and sorrow all 
round upon his unfortunate neighbours — a thing which 
no man has a right to do. Any man with just the same 
feelings, who contrives to keep himself reasonably 
happy even while making determined efforts to reform, 
is not injuring others in at all the same way. 

People who think and speak of themselves as misera- 
ble worms are going exactly the right way to make 
themselves miserable worms, for what a man thinks, 
that he is. All such talk is usually hypocrisy, as you 
may easily see from the fact that the man who so 
readily calls himself a miserable worm in church would 
feel distinctly insulted if anybody else called him so in 
ordinary daily life. And whether it is hypocritical or 
not it is certainly nonsense, for we passed the reptilian 
stage of evolution long ago, if we ever were in it. 
Anyone who understands at all the influence of thought 
will realize that a man who really thinks himself a 
miserable worm has already deprived himself of any 
power of rising out of that state, while the man who 
realizes strongly that he is a spark of the divine life 
will feel ever hopeful and joyous, because in essence 
the divine is always joy. It is a great mistake to waste 
time in repentance ; what is past is past, and no amount 
of remorse can undo it. As one of our own Masters 
once said, "The only repentance that is worth anything 
whatever is the resolve not to do it again." 



Some mistaken ideas seem prevalent among our 
members upon the subject of asceticism, and it may be 
worth while to consider what it really is, and how far 
it may be useful. The word is usually taken to signify 
a life of austerities and of mortification of the body, 
though this is somewhat of a departure from the orig- 
inal meaning of the Greek word asketes, which is 
simply one who exercises himself as an athlete does. 
But ecclesiasticism impounded the word and changed 
its sense, applying it to the practice of all sorts of 
self-denial for the purpose of spiritual progress, on 
the theory that the bodily nature with its passions and 
desires is the stronghold of the evil inherent in man 
since the fall of Adam, and that it must therefore be 
suppressed by fasting and penance. In the grander 
Oriental religions we sometimes encounter a similar 
idea, based on the conception of matter as essentially 
evil, and following from that the deduction that an 
approach to ideal good or an escape from the miseries 
of existence can be effected only by subduing or 
torturing the body. 

The student of Theosophy will at once see that in 
both these theories there is dire confusion of thought. 
There is no evil inherent in man except such as he has 
himself generated in previous births; nor is matter 
essentially evil, since it is just as much divine as is 
spirit, and without it all manifestation of the Deity 
would be impossible. The body and its desires are not 
in themselves evil or good, but it is true that before 
real progress can be made they must be brought under 
the control of the higher self within. To torture the 
body is foolish; to govern it is necessary. "The men 
who perform severe austerities unintelligent, 


tormenting the aggregated elements forming the body, 
and Me also, seated in the inner body — know these 
demoniacal in their resolves." (Bhagavad-Gita, xvii. 
5, 6.) And again, "The austerity done under a deluded 
understanding, with self-torture, that is de- 
clared of darkness." (Ibid, xvii. 19.) 

There appears to be a widely-spread delusion that 
to be really good one must always be uncomfortable — 
that discomfort as such is directly pleasing to the 
Logos. Nothing can be more grotesque than this idea, 
and in the above quoted texts from the Bhagavad-Gita 
we have a hint that it is perhaps worse than grotesque, 
for it is there said that they who torment the body are 
tormenting the Logos enshrined in it. With us in 
Europe this unfortunately common theory is one of 
the many horrible legacies left us by the ghastly 
blasphemy of Calvinism. I myself have actually heard 
a child say : "I feel so happy that I am sure I must be 
very wicked" — a truly awful result of criminally 
distorted teaching. 

Our Masters, who are so far above us, are full of joy; 
full of sympathy, but not of sorrow. We also must feel 
sympathy with others, but not identify ourselves with 
their sorrow. A man in great trouble can judge noth- 
ing clearly. To his vision all the world seems dark, 
and it appears as if no one should be happy. When he 
is in great joy, all the world appears bright, and it 
seems as if no one ought to be unhappy. Yet nothing 
is changed, not even he himself, but only his astral 
body. All the world is going on just the same, whether 
you are happy or unhappy. Do not identify yourself 
with your astral body, but try to get out of this web 
of illusion, these personal moods. 

No doubt this ludicrous theory of the merit of dis- 
comfort comes partly from the knowledge that in order 


to make progress man must control his passions, and 
from the fact that such control is disagreeable to the 
unevolved person. But the discomfort is very far from 
being meritorious ; on the contrary, it is a sign that the 
victory is not yet achieved. It arises from the fact that 
the lower nature is not yet dominated, and that a strug- 
gle is still taking place. When the control is perfect 
there will no longer be any desire for the lower, conse- 
quently no struggle and no discomfort. The man will 
live the right life and avoid the lower because it is 
perfectly natural for him to do so — no longer because 
he thinks he ought to make the effort, even though it 
may be difficult for him. So that the discomfort exists 
only at an intermediate stage, and not it, but its 
absence, is the sign of success. 

Another reason for the gospel of the uncomfortable 
is a confusion of cause and effect. It is observed that 
the really advanced person is simple in his habits, and 
often careless about a large number of minor luxuries 
that are considered important and really necessary by 
the ordinary man. But such carelessness about luxury 
is the effect, not the cause, of his advancement. He 
does not trouble himself about these little matters 
because he has largely outgrown them and they no 
longer interest him — not in the least because he con- 
siders them as wrong ; and one who, while still craving 
for them, imitates him in abstaining from them, does 
not thereby become advanced. At a certain stage a 
child plays with dolls and bricks ; a few years later he 
has become a boy and his play is cricket and football ; 
later again when he is a young man these in turn lose 
much of their interest, and he begins to play the game 
of love and life. But an infant who chooses to imitate 
his elders, who throws aside his dolls and bricks and 
attempts to play cricket, does not thereby transcend 


his infancy. As his natural growth takes place he puts 
away childish things ; but he cannot force the growth 
merely by putting these away, and playing at being 

There is no virtue whatever merely in becoming 
uncomfortable for discomfort's sake ; but there are 
three cases in which voluntary discomfort may be a 
part of progress. The first is when it is undertaken 
for the sake of helping another, as when a man nurses 
a sick friend or labours hard to support his family. 
The second is when a man realizes that some habit to 
which he is addicted is a hindrance in his upward 
way — such a habit, say, as tobacco-smoking, alcohol- 
drinking, or corpse-eating. If he is in earnest he gives 
up the habit instantly, but because the body is accus- 
tomed to that particular form of pollution it misses it, 
cries out for it, and causes the man a great deal of 
trouble. If he holds firm to his resolution his body will 
presently adapt itself to the new conditions, and when 
it has done so there will be no further discomfort. But 
in the intermediate stage, while the battle for mastery 
between the man and his body is still being fought, 
there may be a good deal of suffering, and this must 
be taken as the karma of having adopted the vice which 
he is now forsaking. When the suffering passes the 
karma is paid, the victory is won, and a step in 
evolution is achieved. 

I am aware that there are rare cases (when people 
are physically very weak) in which it might be danger- 
ous to relinquish a bad habit instantaneously. The 
morphine habit is an instance in point; one who is a 
victim to its horrors usually finds it necessary gradually 
to decrease the dose, because the strain of abrupt cessa- 
tion might well be greater than the physical body could 
endure. It would seem that there are certain pitiable 


cases in which the same system of gradual decrease 
must be applied to the flesh-eating habit. Doctors tell 
us that while the digestion of flesh takes place chiefly 
in the stomach, that of most forms of vegetable food 
belongs to the work of the intestines ; and therefore a 
person in very weak health sometimes finds it advisable 
to give to these various organs a certain amount of 
time to adjust themselves to the necessary change, and 
to practise, as it were, the functions which they are 
now required to fulfil. The steady pressure of the will, 
however, will soon bring the body into subjection and 
adapt it to the new order of things. 

The third case in which discomfort may have its use 
is when a man deliberately forces his body to do some- 
thing which it dislikes, in order to make sure that it 
will obey him when necessary. But it must be distinctly 
understood that even then the merit is in the ready 
obedience of the body, and not in its suffering. In this 
way a man may gradually learn indifference to many 
of the minor ills of life, and so save himself much 
worry and irritation. In this training himself in will, 
and his body in obedience, he must be careful to attempt 
only such things as are advantageous. The Hatha 
Yogi developes will-power, assuredly, when he holds 
his arm above his head until it withers; but while he 
gains enormously in will-power he also loses the use 
of his arm. The will-power can be developed just as 
well by some effort the result of which will be per- 
manently useful instead of permanently hampering — 
by the conquest, for example, of irritability or pride, 
impatience or sensuality. It would be well if all who 
feel a yearning for asceticism would take to heart the 
words of wisdom in the Bhagavad-Gita: 

"Purity, straightforwardness, continence and harm- 
lessness are called the austerity of the body. Speech 


causing no annoyance, truthful, pleasant and beneficial 
is called the austerity of speech. Mental hap- 
piness, equilibrium, silence, self-control, purity of 
nature — this is called the austerity of the mind." 
(xvii. 14, 15, 16.) 

Note especially that in this last verse mental happi- 
ness is described as the first characteristic of the 
austerity of the mind — the first sign of the perfect 
self-control necessary for one who wishes to make real 
progress. It is emphatically our duty to be happy; 
morbidity, gloom or depression mean always failure 
and weakness, because they mean selfishness. The 
man who allows himself to brood over his own sorrows 
or wrongs is forgetting his duty to his fellows. He 
permits himself to become a centre of infection, spread- 
ing gloom instead of joy among his brethren ; what is 
this but the grossest selfishness? If there be any one 
who feels a yearning for asceticism, let him take up 
this mental austerity advised in the scripture, and 
resolve that whatever may be his private troubles or 
sufferings he will forget himself and them for the sake 
of others, so that he may ever be pouring forth upon 
his fellow-pilgrims the radiant happiness which comes 
from the fuller knowledge of the Theosophist, ever 
helping them towards the realization that "Brahman 
is bliss." 

Small Worries 

Unnecessary worry appears to be the key-note of 
modern life. Not only those who are making special 
efforts to progress are making themselves unreasonably 
uncomfortable, but the same vice is quite common even 
in ordinary life. The astral body of the average man 


is a sad sight for a clairvoyant. The illustration in 
Man Visible and Invisible (p. 131) shows what an 
astral body ought to be — merely a reflection of the 
colours of the mental, indicating that the man allows 
himself to feel only what his reason dictates. But if 
that be too much to expect at this stage of evolution, 
the picture on p. 102 gives us an assortment of colours 
which represents an average astral body when com- 
paratively at rest. In it there are many hues which 
show the presence of undesirable qualities — qualities 
which should be weeded out as soon as may be : but that 
side of the subject is treated in the book, and it is to 
another feature that I wish now to draw attention. 

I have said that the illustration shows what an 
ordinary undeveloped astral body would look like if 
comparatively at rest ; but one of the evils of what we 
have agreed to call civilization is that hardly any astral 
body ever is even comparatively at rest. Of course it is 
understood that the matter of an astral body must 
always be in perpetual vibration, and each of the 
colours that we see in the drawing marks a different 
rate of that vibration ; but there should be a certain 
order in this, and a certain limit to it. The more 
developed man (on p. 131) has five rates of vibration, 
but the ordinary man shows at least nine rates, with a 
mixture of varying shades in addition. That is clearly 
not so good as the other, but the case of the majority 
of people in the West is really far worse than that. 
To have even nine rates of simultaneous vibration is 
already bad enough, but in the astral body of many a 
man and woman one might easily observe fifty rates 
or even a hundred. The body should be divided into a 
few fairly definite areas, each swinging steadily at its 
normal rate, but instead of that, its surface is usually 
broken up into a multiplicity of little whirl-pools and 


cross-currents, all battling one against the other in the 
maddest confusion. 

All these are the result of little unnecessary emotions 
and worries, and the ordinary person of the West is 
simply a mass of these. He is troubled about this 
thing, he is annoyed about that, he is in fear about a 
third, and so on ; his whole life is filled with petty little 
emotions, and all his strength is frittered away on 
them. A really great emotion, be it good or bad, 
sweeps over the whole of a man's astral body and for 
the time brings it all to one rate of vibration ; but these 
small worries make little vortices or centres of local 
disturbance, each of which persists for a considerable 

The astral body which thus vibrates fifty ways at 
once is a blot upon the landscape and a nuisance to its 
neighbors. It is not only a very ugly object — it is also 
a serious annoyance. It may be compared to a physical 
body suffering from some unusually aggravated form 
of palsy, with all its muscles jerking simultaneously in 
different directions. But to make the illustration even 
partially adequate we should have to assume that this 
palsy was contagious, or that every one who saw its 
unfortunate results felt an irresistible tendency to 
reproduce them. For this horrible chaos of catas- 
trophic confusion produces an unpleasant and most 
disturbing effect upon all sensitive people who approach 
it; it infects their astral bodies and communicates to 
them a painful sensation of unrest and worry. 

Only a few have yet unfolded the faculties which 
enable them to see this maleficent influence in action; 
a larger number are vaguely conscious of discomfort 
when they approach one of these fussy persons ; but 
probably the majority feel nothing definite at the time 
of meeting, though later in the day they will probably 


wonder why they are so inexplicably fatigued. The 
effect is there and the harm is done, whether it be 
immediately perceptible or not. 

A person who is so foolish as to allow himself to get 
into this condition does much harm to many, but most 
of all to himself. Frequently the perpetual astral dis- 
turbance reacts through the etheric upon the dense 
physical vehicle, and all sorts of nervous diseases are 
produced. Nearly all nerve troubles are the direct 
result of unnecessary worry and emotion, and would 
soon disappear if the patient would but hold his 
vehicles still and possess his soul in peace. 

But even in cases where a strong physical body is 
able successfully to resist this constant irritation from 
the astral, its effect upon its own plane is no less dis- 
astrous. These tiny centres of inflammation which 
thus cover the whole astral body are to it what boils 
are to the physical body — not only themselves causes of 
acute discomfort, sore spots the least touch upon which 
produces terrible pain, but also weak spots through 
which the life-blood of vitality drains away, and 
through which also blood-poisoning from without may 
take place. A person whose astral body is in this dis- 
tracted condition can offer practically no resistance to 
any evil influence which he may encounter, while he is 
quite unable to profit by good influences. His strength 
flows out through these open sores, at the same time 
that all sorts of disease-germs find entrance by them. 
He is not using and controlling his astral body as a 
whole, but allowing it to break up into a number of 
separate centres and control him. His little worries 
and vexations establish themselves and confirm their 
empire over him until they become a legion of devils 
who possess him so that he cannot escape from them. 

This is a painfully common condition ; how is a man 


to avoid falling into it, and if he is already in it, how is 
he to get out of it? The answer is the same to both 
questions ; let him learn not to worry, not to fear, not 
to be annoyed. Let him reason with himself as to the 
utter unimportance of all these little personal matters 
which have loomed so large upon his horizon. Let him 
consider how they will appear when he looks back upon 
them from the next life, or even twenty years hence. 
Let him lay well to heart the words of wisdom, that of 
all the outward things that happen to a man "nothing 
matters much, and most things matter not at all." 
What he himself does or says or thinks is of importance 
to him, for that forms his future ; what other people do 
or say or think matters to him nothing whatever. Let 
him abstract himself from all these little pin-pricks of 
daily life, and simply decline to be worried by them. 

It will need some resolution at first, for it requires 
effort to conquer a well-established bad habit. He will 
find his mind muttering to him over and over again: 
"Mrs. Jones spoke evil of me; perhaps she is doing it 
now; perhaps other people may believe her; perhaps 
it may do me harm," and so on ad infinitum. But he 
must reply: "I don't care what Mrs. Jones has said, 
though I am sorry the poor woman should make such 
bad karma. I absolutely decline to think of it or of her. 
I have my work to do, and have no time to waste in 
thinking of foolish gossip." 

Or it may be that forebodings of coming evil are con- 
stantly thrusting themselves into his brain : "Perhaps 
next year I may lose my position ; perhaps I shall be 
starving; perhaps I shall be bankrupt; perhaps I may 
lose the affection of some friend." This also should be 
met firmly : Perhaps all these things may happen, but 
also perhaps they may not, and it is useless to try to 
cross a bridge before one comes to it. I shall take all 


reasonable precautions, and when that is done I decline 
to think further of the matter. Worrying cannot affect 
whatever may be coming, but it can and certainly will 
make me unfit to meet it. Therefore I refuse to worry ; 
I definitely turn my back on the whole subject." 

Another common form of worry which leads to the 
most serious results is the folly of taking offense at 
something which somebody else says or does. Ordi- 
narily common-sense would lead a man to avoid this 
mistake, and yet those who do avoid it are few. It 
needs only that we should think dispassionately about 
the matter, and we shall see that what the other man 
has said or done cannot make any difference to us. 
If he has said something which has hurt our feelings, 
we may be sure that in nine cases out of ten he has not 
meant it to be offensive ; why then should we allow our- 
selves to be disturbed about the matter? Even in the 
rare cases when a remark is intentionally rude or spite- 
ful, where a man has said something purposely to 
wound another, it is still exceedingly foolish of that 
other to allow himself to feel hurt. If the man had an 
evil intention in what he said, he is much to be pitied, 
for we know that under the law of divine justice he will 
certainly suffer for his foolishness. What he has said 
need in no way affect us, for, if we think of it, no effect 
whatever has really been produced. 

The irritating word does not in any way injure us, 
except in so far as we may choose to take it up and 
injure ourselves by brooding over it or allowing our- 
selves to be wounded in our feelings. What are the 
words of another, that we should let our serenity be 
disturbed by them ? They are merely a vibration in the 
atmosphere ; if it had not happened that we heard them, 
or heard of them, would they have affected us? If not, 
then it is obviously not the words that have injured us, 


but the fact that we heard them. So if we allow our- 
selves to care about what a man has said, it is we who 
are responsible for the disturbance created in our astral 
bodies, and not he. 

The man has done and can do nothing that can harm 
us; if we feel hurt and injured and thereby make our- 
selves a great deal of trouble, we have only ourselves 
to thank for it. If a disturbance arises within our 
astral bodies in reference to what he has said, that is 
merely because we have not yet gained control over 
those bodies; we have not yet developed the calmness 
which enables us to look down as souls upon all this, 
and go on our way and attend to our own work without 
taking the slightest notice of foolish or spiteful remarks 
made by other men. This is the merest common-sense, 
yet not one in a hundred will act upon it. 

The fact is that any one who wishes to become a 
student of occultism must not have any personal feel- 
ings that can be offended under any circumstances 
whatever. A man who has them is still thinking of 
himself; whereas our duty is to forget ourselves in 
order to remember the good of others. Nothing can 
offend you if you have resolved not to be offended — if 
you are thinking only how to help the other man, and 
not at all of yourself. 

Another variant of the disease is less personal and 
therefore is so far less blame-worthy, but hardly less 
prejudicial to progress. It is the habit of fussing over 
trifles in business or in household affairs. This always 
involves a lack of discrimination and of the sense of 
perspective. It is quite true that a household or a 
business must be orderly, that things must be done 
punctually and exactly ; but the way to achieve this is 
to set up a high ideal and press steadily towards it — not 
to irritate every one by ceaseless, useless worry. The 


person who is so unfortunate as to be afflicted with a 
disposition of this kind should make a most determined 
fight against it, for until he conquers it he will be a force 
working always for friction and not for peace, and so 
will be of little real use in the world. His symptoms 
differ slightly from those of the more personal worrier ; 
in his case there are fewer of the carbuncular vortices, 
but there is a perpetual tremor, an unrest of the whole 
astral body which is equally disquieting to others, 
equally subversive of happiness and advancement for 
the fusser himself. 

The man must learn to be master of his mind and 
his feelings, and steadily reject every thought and emo- 
tion which his highest self does not approve. A chaos 
of petty emotions is unworthy of a rational being, and 
it is to the last degree undignified that man, who is a 
spark of the Divine, should allow himself to fall under 
the sway of his desire-elemental — a thing that is not 
even a mineral yet. 

I have already said that this disastrous astral con- 
fusion is often prejudicial to physical health; but it is 
invariably worse than prejudicial to progress on the 
path — it is absolutely fatal to it. One of the first great 
lessons to be learnt on that path is perfect self-control, 
and a long stage on the way to that is complete absence 
of worry. At first, from mere habit, the matter of the 
astral body will still be swept readily into unnecessary 
vortices, but every time that happens the man must 
firmly obliterate them, and restore the steady swing of 
the feelings which he, as an ego, really desires to have. 

Let him fill himself so entirely with the divine love 
that it may be ever pouring from him in all directions 
in the shape of love for his fellow-men, and then there 
will be no room for unnecessary vibrations; he will 
have no time to worry over trifling personal matters 


if his whole life is spent in the service of the Logos, 
in trying to help forward the evolution of the world. 
To make any real progress or to do any real work a 
man must turn from the lower and reach towards the 
higher; he must come out of our world into Theirs — 
out of the restlessness into the peace which passeth 

Killing Out Desire 

We are often told that we must kill out desire ; but 
it should be remembered that that is a gradual process. 
The lower and coarser desires which are meant by the 
Sanskrit word kama must certainly be killed out en- 
tirely before any sort of advancement can be made, but 
in the English sense of the word we all of us still have 
certain desires, and are likely to have them for a very 
long time to come. We desire keenly, for example, tc 
serve the Master ; to become His pupils ; to help human- 
ity. These also are desires, but they should not be 
killed. What is necessary is to kill out the lower and 
reach up to the higher, that is to say, to purify our de- 
sires and to transmute them into aspirations. 

Later on another transmutation will take place. For 
example, now we desire to make progress ; but a time 
will come when we shall be so sure of it that we shall 
cease to desire, because we know that all the time it is 
going on as rapidly as is possible for us, and because 
we mean that it shall so go on. Desire is then trans- 
muted into resolution. At this point there can be no 
more regret for anything; you do your best and you 
know that in response to that the best must come. 
Some people desire earnestly to gain this quality or 


that ; do not waste your power in desiring and wishing, 
but tv ill instead. 

In the same way it is said that we should slay the 
lunar form, that is to say the astral body. But that 
does not mean that the astral body must be destroyed 
or that we must be without feelings and emotions. If 
that could be so we should have no sympathy and no 
understanding of others. What is intended is that we 
should keep it completely under control, that we should 
have the faculty to slay the lunar form at will. Purity 
is necessary, but it means not only the abstinence from 
specified faults, but absolute selflessness. Ambition, 
for example, is a very common form of desire, but in it 
there is always a thought of self. The adept cannot 
be ambitious. His will is one with the will of the 
Logos, and He wills evolution. We are all parts of the 
Logos, and our wills are part of His. It is only when 
we do not realize this that we set up desires in our own 
separate lines. The regulations for our lives were very 
well summed up by the Lord Buddha in one little verse 
of four short lines : 

Sabbapapassa akaranam 
Kusalassa upasampada 
Sachitta pariyo dapanam 
Etam Buddhana sasanam. 

Cease from all evil; 

Learn to do well; 

Cleanse your own heart; 

This is the religion of the Buddhas. 

the centre of my circle 191 

The Centre of My Circle 

Of all the many obstacles that stand in the way of the 
aspirant who wishes to enter upon the Path, the most 
serious, because the most far-reaching and funda- 
mental, is self-centredness. Note that by this I do not 
mean the crude and ugly selfishness, which definitely 
seeks everything for itself even at the cost of others. 
I am, of course, supposing that that at least has been 
left behind long ago. But in those who have left 
it behind, there still lingers this other evil — so subtle 
and so deeply-rooted that they do not recognize it as 
an evil at all — indeed, they are not even aware of its 
existence. But let a man examine himself honestly and 
impartially, and he will find that all his thought is self- 
centred ; he thinks often of other people and of other 
things, but always in their relation to himself; he 
weaves many imaginary dramas, but he himself occu- 
pies always a prominent role in them. He must always 
be in the centre of his little stage, with the limelight 
playing upon him ; if he is not in that position he at 
once feels hurt, annoyed, angry, and jealous of any 
other person who happens for the moment to be at- 
tracting the attention of those who ought to be worship- 
ping at his shrine. To change so fundamental a quality 
is to change for him the root of all things, to make him- 
self into an altogether different man. Most people 
cannot for a moment face the possibility of such a 
radical change because they do not even know that the 
condition exists. 

Now, this attitude is absolutely fatal to any kind of 
progress. It must be utterly changed, and yet so few 
are making any attempt to change it. There is one 
way out of this vicious circle, and only one; and that 
is the way of love. That is the only thing in the life 


of the ordinary man which ever changes this condition 
for him, which seizes upon him with a strong hand and 
for the time being alters his whole attitude. For a 
time, at least, when he falls in love, as it is called, some 
other person occupies the centre of his circle, and he 
thinks of everything in all the world in its relation to 
her, and not in its relation to himself. The divinity at 
whose shrine he offers this worship may in truth seem 
to the rest of the world to be but a very ordinary per- 
son, but for him she is temporarily the incarnation of 
grace and beauty ; he sees in her the divinity which is 
in truth hers, because it lies latent in all of us, though 
normally we do not see it. It is true that in many 
cases after a time his enthusiasm fades and he trans- 
fers it to another object ; but nevertheless for the time 
he has ceased to be self-centred, for the time he has had 
a wider outlook. 

Now this, which the ordinary man thus does uncon- 
sciously, the student of occultism must do consciously. 
He must deliberately dethrone himself from the centre 
of the circle of his life, and he must enthrone the Mas- 
ter there instead. He has been in the habit of thinking 
instinctively how everything will affect him, or what 
he can make of it, how he can turn it to his profit and 
pleasure. Instead of that he must now learn to think of 
everything as it affects the Master, and since the Mas- 
ter lives only to help the evolution of humanity, that 
means that he must regard everything from the stand- 
point of its helpfulness or hindrance to the cause of evo- 
lution. And though at first he will have to do this 
consciously and with a certain effort, he must persevere 
until he does it just as unconsciously, just as instinct- 
ively as heretofore he centred everything around him- 
self. To use the words of a Master, he must forget 
himself utterly only to remember the good of others. 


But even when he has dethroned himself and en- 
throned the work which he has to do, he must be ex- 
ceedingly careful that he does not delude himself, that 
he does not return to the old self-centredness in a sub- 
tler form. Many a good and earnest Theosophical 
worker have I known who committed this very mis- 
take, who identified Theosophical work with himself, 
and felt that anyone who did not exactly agree with his 
ideas and his methods was an enemy of Theosophy. So 
often the worker thinks that his way is the only way, 
and that to differ from him in opinion is to be a traitor 
to the cause. But this means only that the self has 
crept skilfully back into its old place in the centre of 
the circle, and that the work of dislodging it must be 
begun all over again. The only power which the dis- 
ciple should desire is that which makes him seem as 
nothing in the eyes of men. When he is the centre of 
his circle he may do good work, but it is always with the 
feeling that he is doing it, even largely with the object 
that it may be he that does it ; but when the Master is 
the centre of his circle he will do the work simply in 
order that it may be done. The work is done for the 
sake of the work and not for the sake of the doer. And 
he must learn to look upon his own work precisely as 
though it were that of some one else, and upon the 
work of some one else precisely as though it were his 
own. The one thing that is important is that the work 
should be done. It matters little who does it. There- 
fore, he ought neither to be prejudiced in favour of his 
own work and unduly critical of that of another, nor be 
hypocritically depreciatory of his own work in order 
that others may praise it. To quote the words of 
Ruskin with regard to art, he ought to be able to say 
serenely : "Be it mine or yours, or whose else it may, 
this also is well." 


Another danger there is, too, which is special to the 
Theosophical worker — the danger of congratulating 
himself too soon that he differs from the rest of the 
world. Theosophical teaching puts a new complexion 
upon everything, so naturally we feel that our attitude 
is quite different from that of most other people. There 
is no harm in thinking this obvious truth, but I have 
found that some of our members are apt to pride them- 
selves upon the fact that they are able to recognize 
these things. It does not in the least follow that we, 
who find ourselves able to recognize them are, there- 
fore, better than others. Other men have developed 
themselves along other lines, and along those lines 
they may be very far in advance of us, though along 
our line they lack something which we already have. 
Remember, the adept is the perfect man who is fully 
developed along all possible lines, and so while we have 
something to teach these others we also have much to 
learn from them, and it would be the height of folly to 
despise a man because he has not yet acquired Theo- 
sophical knowledge, nor even perhaps the qualities 
which enable him to appreciate it. Therefore, in this 
sense also we must take care not to be the centre of our 
own circle. 

A good plan that you may adopt in order to keep 
yourself from slipping back into the centre may be to 
remember, as a symbol of what ought to Be your atti- 
tude, what I have before explained to you with regard 
to the occult view of the course and influence of the 
planets. You remember how I explained to you that 
each planet is a minor focus in an ellipse, the major 
focus of which is within the body of the sun. You are 
like that minor focus; you are going upon your own 
course and doing the work appointed to you, and yet 
all the time you are but a reflection of the major focus, 


and your consciousness is centred within the sun, for 
the Master of whom you are a part is a member of 
the Great Hierarchy which is ever doing the work of 
the Logos. 

While a man is the centre of his own circle he is 
perpetually making the mistake of thinking that he is 
the centre of everybody else's. He constantly supposes 
that in everything which other people say or do they 
are somehow thinking of him, or aiming their remarks 
at him, and with many this becomes a kind of obsession, 
and they seem totally unable to realize that each of 
their neighbours is as a rule also entirely wrapped up 
in himself and not thinking of them at all. So the man 
makes for himself a great deal of totally unnecessary 
trouble and worry, all of which might be avoided if we 
would but see things in a sane and rational perspective. 
Again, it is because he is the centre of his own circle 
that he is liable to depression, for that comes only to 
one who is thinking of himself. If the Master be the 
centre of his circle, and all his energies are centred 
upon serving Him, he has no time for depression, nor 
has he the slightest inclination towards it. He is far 
too eagerly wishing for work that he can do. His atti- 
tude should be that indicated by our President in her 
Autobiography — that when a man sees a piece of work 
waiting to be done he should say, not as the ordinary 
man usually does : "Yes, it would be a good thing, and 
somebody ought to do it. But why should I?" — but 
rather he should say: "Somebody ought to do this. 
Why should it not be I?" 

As he evolves his circle will widen, and in the end 
there will come a time when his circle will be infinite 
in extent, and then in a sense he himself will again be 
its centre, because he has identified himself with the 
Logos, who is the centre of all possible circles, since 


every point is equally the centre of a circle whose 
radius is infinite. 

Our Duty to Animals 

While you are trying to do your best for all those 
around you, do not forget that you also have a duty 
towards forms of life lower than the human. In order 
that you may be able to do that, try to understand your 
lower brothers, try to understand the animals, just as 
you try to understand on a higher level the children 
with whom you have to deal. Just as you learn, if you 
want to help a child, to look at things from the child's 
point of view, so, if you want to help the animal evolu- 
tion, try to see what is the animal's point of view. In 
all cases and with all forms of life our business is to 
love and to help, and to try to bring nearer the golden 
age when all shall understand one another and all shall 
co-operate in the glorious work that is to come. 

There is no reason why our domestic animals should 
not be trained to help man, and to work in his service, 
so long as the work is not painful or excessive. But 
all the creatures around us should be trained in the way 
best for themselves; that is to say, we should always 
remember that their evolution is the object of the di- 
vine Will. So that while we should surely teach our 
animals all that we can, because that developes their 
intelligence, we must take care that we instil into them 
good qualities and not evil. We have various creatures 
brought among us. We have the dog, the cat, the horse 
and other originally wild animals given into our care — 
brought to us for affection and help. Why? That we 
may train them out of their ferocity, and into a higher 
and more intelligent state of life — that we may evoke 
in them devotion, affection and intellect. 


But we must take good care that we help, not hinder ; 
we must see that we do not increase in our animal 
the ferocious qualities which it is the business of his 
evolution to get rid of. For example, a man who trains 
a dog to hunt and kill is intensifying within him the 
very instincts which must be eliminated if the animal 
is to evolve, and in this way he is degrading a creature 
given into his charge instead of helping him on his 
way, even though at the same time he may be develop- 
ing the animal's intelligence ; and thus, though he may 
do a little good, he is at the same time doing a great deal 
of harm which far more than counterbalances it. The 
same thing is true of a man who trains his dog to be 
ferocious in order that he may be an efficient protector 
of his property. 

A man who treats an animal harshly or cruelly may 
possibly be evolving his intellect, since the animal may 
learn to think more keenly in order to see how to avoid 
the cruelty. But along with whatever evolution may 
be gained in this way, there is also the development 
of the exceedingly undesirable qualities of fear and 
hatred. Thus when, later on, that animal wave of life 
goes up into humanity, we shall have a humanity start- 
ing terribly handicapped — starting with these awful 
qualities of fear and hatred ingrained in it, instead of 
a humanity all aspiring, devotional, loving and gentle, 
such as we might have had if the men to whom the 
animal part of that evolution was committed had done 
their duty. 

We have also our duty towards other and even lower 
forms of life than that. There is the elemental essence, 
which is surrounding us everywhere; that elemental 
essence progresses by means of our thought, and of the 
action which we produce upon it by our thoughts, pas- 
sions, emotions and feelings. We need not trouble our- 


selves especially about that, because if we carry out 
our higher ideals, if we try to see to it that all our 
thought and all our emotion shall be of the highest pos- 
sible type, then that also will, at the same time and 
without further difficulty, be the discharging of our 
duty towards the elemental essences which are influ- 
enced by our thought; they will be raised and not de- 
pressed ; the higher qualities which we alone can reach 
will be set in motion, vivified and helped at their re- 
spective levels. 

All through evolution the assistance of the higher is 
expected in the development of the lower, and it is not 
only by individualizing them that man has helped the 
members of the animal kingdom. In Atlantean days 
the very formation of their species was largely given 
over into his hands, and it is because he failed to do his 
duty properly that many things turned out rather dif- 
ferently from what was originally intended. His mis- 
takes are largely responsible for the existence of 
carnivorous creatures which live only to destroy one 
another. Not that he was responsible for all carnivo- 
rous creatures; there were such among the gigantic 
reptiles of the Lemurian period, and man was not in 
any way directly engaged in their evolution ; but it was 
in part his work to assist in the development from those 
reptile forms of the mammalia which play so promi- 
nent a part in the world now. Here was his oppor- 
tunity to improve the breeds and to curb the undesir- 
able qualities of the creatures that came under his 
hands; and it is because he failed to do all that he 
might have done in this direction that he is to some 
extent responsible for much that has since gone wrong 
in the world. If he had done all his duty it is quite 
conceivable that we might have had no carnivorous 


Mankind has for so long treated animals cruelly that 
the whole animal world has a general feeling of fear 
and enmity towards men. Men have generated in this 
way an awful karma, which comes back upon them in 
terrible suffering, in various forms of disease and of 
insanity. Yet, even after all this bad behaviour on the 
part of man, few animals will harm him if left alone. 
A serpent, for example, will not usually do any injury 
to a human being, unless he is first hurt or frightened ; 
and the same thing is true of nearly all wild animals, 
except the very few who may regard man as food, and 
even they usually will not touch man if they can get 
anything else. Except when it is absolutely necessary 
in self-defence or in defence of another the destruction 
of any form of life ought always to be avoided, as it 
tends to retard nature's work. That is one of the rea- 
sons why all consistent Theosophists refuse to share 
the sin of slaughter by eating meat or fish, or by wear- 
ing such things as are obtained only by the slaughter 
of animals, like sealskin or the feathers of birds. Silk 
used to be obtained by the wholesale slaughter of silk- 
worms, but I hear that there is now a new way of ob- 
taining it without destroying the worm. 


Never set yourself against the law of nature. Lately, 
man has gone astray from nature very much, and ma- 
terialism has become widely spread. Many scientific 
men who know a great deal more about nature are very 
much less in sympathy with her than were their less 
instructed forefathers. In the useful, and indeed nec- 
essary, study of the exterior many have forgotten the 


interior; but men will pass through this intermediate 
stage of misunderstanding and come back into sym- 
pathy. The older people, who had a closer kinship with 
nature, carried on little of detailed examination, which 
would have seemed irreverent to them. Because we 
have become irreverent, have lost the living feeling, we 
pry remorselessly. We must take care not to lose the 
precision that we have gained by this intermediate 
stage, but must recover the sympathy. By sympathy 
one may find out a great deal which science alone can 
never discover. In the teaching of children, we need 
to make them feel that we understand them, even 
though in doing so we may sacrifice some scholastic ad- 
vantages. The average child regards grown-up people 
as foreign entities, strange arbitrary beings. 

All this is true also in connection with our studies of 
nature. The nature-spirits are afraid of us, if we study 
them too scientifically ; we must go with them into their 
life, and then they will be interested in the life of hu- 
manity also. In their blind way, flowers and other 
things feel joy and friendliness. Emerson said that 
it appeared to him that when he returned home, the 
trees in his garden felt glad to see or feel him again, 
and no doubt it was quite true. The trees and animals 
do know the people who love them. In India people 
speak of the "lucky hand" in planting, meaning that 
things will grow for some people, but not for others. 
One must be in sympathy with the purpose of the 
Logos. If we are actively helping in the progress of 
all, we are living in His will, which penetrates nature, 
and this is felt by nature at once ; but if we put our- 
selves in opposition to evolution, nature shrinks back 
from us like a sensitive child. 

the fear of death 201 

Our Attitude Towards Children 

What is your attitude towards your children? Re- 
member that these are egos, sparks of the divine life. 
They have been entrusted to you, not that you may 
domineer over them and brutally ill-treat them, and 
use them for your own profit and advantage, but that 
you may love them and help them in order that they 
may be expressions of that divine life. What an out- 
pouring of love then you ought to feel ! How beyond 
all words your patience and compassion should be! 
How deeply you should feel the honour of being trusted 
to serve them in this way ! Remember always that you 
are not the older and they the younger, but that as souls 
you are all about the same age, and therefore your at- 
titude must not be that of a selfish and cruel dictator, 
but of a helpful friend. You do not regard your friend 
differently when he puts on a new coat; remember 
therefore that when you meet a child you are meeting 
a soul wearing a new coat, and you should try by per- 
fect kindness and love to draw out the best that is in it, 
and to help it to fit on its new coat. Remember always 
that true good means good for all, and that good is 
never gained at the cost of suffering to others. That 
which is so gained is not really good at all. 

The Fear of Death 

The fear of death is a stern reality in the minds of 
many people. A far larger number suffer from it than 
one would suppose, and still more from the fear of what 
may happen to us after death. Naturally this is espe- 
cially to be found among people who have ideas of hell, 
and of probable punishment if they do not believe this 


or that. It is a gross and degraded form of supersti- 
tion, but still the suffering is real, and what is even 
worse is the fear as to the fate of others after death. 
Many a mother's whole life is embittered by doubts and 
fears as to what may happen to her son. He goes far 
away from her, perhaps; he falls into the ordinary 
habits of men of the world, and does many things con- 
trary to the narrow religious teaching in which she has 
been brought up, and so she thinks that he must suffer 
eternal torture. While it is true that there is no eter- 
nal hell for him, there is certainly much real earthly 
suffering for her. 

But we know the law of karma, and realize that the 
states after death are simply a continuation of the life 
which we are now living, although on a higher plane 
and without a physical body ; and when in addition we 
learn that what we commonly call life is only one day 
in the real and greater life, then all these things assume 
quite a different perspective. We know then that 
progress is absolutely certain. A man may stumble, 
he may set himself against the forces of progress, but 
he will be carried on by them in spite of himself, though 
when he resists there will be much of bruising and 
trouble for him. We see at once that this knowledge 
eliminates fear. 

The so-called loss of a loved one by death is really 
only a temporary absence, and not even that as soon as 
a man developes the power to see on the higher planes. 
Those whom we think we have lost are with us still, 
even though with our physical eyes we cannot see them ; 
and we should never forget that, although we may 
sometimes be under the delusion that we have lost them, 
they are not in the least under the delusion that they 
have lost us, because they can still see our astral bodies, 
and as soon as we leave the physical vehicle in sleep we 


are with them and can communicate with them exactly 
as when they were on the physical plane. 

We need not worry ourselves about saving our souls ; 
rather on the other hand, as a Theosophical writer once 
said, we may not be entirely beyond the hope that some 
day our souls may save us. There is no soul to be saved 
in the ordinary sense in which the words are used, be- 
cause we ourselves are the souls; and furthermore 
there is nothing to be saved from except our own error 
and ignorance. The body is nothing but a vestment, 
and when it is worn out we cast it aside. 


It is part of the scheme of the Logos that at a certain 
stage in its evolution humanity must begin to guide 
itself. Therefore all the future Buddhas, Manus and 
Adepts will be members of our own humanity, the 
Lords from Venus having gone on to other worlds. 
Therefore also the Logos actually counts upon us all, 
upon you and upon me. We may have ninety-nine 
faults and only one virtue, but if that one virtue is 
needed in the Theosophical work (and what virtue is 
not needed?) we shall surely have the opportunity to 
use it. 

We should then value our co-workers for what they 
can do, and not be constantly blaming them for what 
they cannot do. Many people have earned the right to 
do some particular kind of work, notwithstanding that 
their defects may be greater than their virtues. Peo- 
ple often make a sad mistake in comparing their work 
with that of others, and wishing that they had the 
same opportunities. The truth is that each one has 


his own gifts and his own powers, and it is not expected 
of any man that he should do as much as some other 
man, but only that he should do his best — just his own 

The Master once said that in reality there are only 
two classes of men — those who know and those who do 
not know. Those who know are they that have seen the 
light and have turned towards it, through whatever 
religion they have come, at however great a distance 
from the light they may as yet find themselves. Many 
of them may be suffering much in their struggle to- 
wards that light, but at least they have hope before 
them, and while we sympathize deeply with them and 
strive to help them we yet realize that they are by no 
means in the worst case. The people really to be 
pitied are those who are quite indifferent to all higher 
thought — those who do not struggle because they do 
not care, or think, or know that there is anything for 
which to strive. These are they in truth who constitute 
"the great orphan humanity." 

A Day of Life 

It is not wise to specialize beyond a certain point, 
because one can never really get to the end of any sub- 
ject, and it tends more and more to narrow the mind 
and the outlook, to produce a one-sided and distorted 
development, and to cause one to view everything out 
of its due proportion. We are in the habit of thinking 
of a life-time as a long period, but really it is only a 
day in the greater life. You cannot finish a really great 
piece of work in one day ; it may need many days, and 
the work of one particular day may at the time show 


no appreciable result; but nevertheless every day's 
work is necessary to the completion of the great task, 
and if a man should idle day after day because the com- 
pletion of the work seems so far off he would certainly 
not succeed in getting it done. 

There are many to whom Theosophy comes late in 
life, who feel themselves somewhat discouraged by the 
outlook, thinking they aro too old now to take them- 
selves in hand seriously or to do any valuable work, 
that the best that they can do now is to go quietly on to 
the end of this incarnation in the hope that they may 
have a better opportunity in the next. 

This is a sad mistake, and that for various reasons. 
You do not know what kind of incarnation karma is 
preparing for you next time you return to earth. You 
do not know whether by any previous action you have 
deserved the opportuntity of being born into Theosoph- 
ical surroundings. In any case the most likely way to 
secure such a birth is to make use of the opportunity 
which has come to you now, for, of all that we have 
learned about the working of this great law of cause 
and effect, this one fact stands out most clearly — that 
the result of taking an opportunity is invariably that 
another and wider opportunity is given. If therefore 
you neglect the opportunity put before you by your en- 
counter with Theosophy now, it is possible that in the 
next incarnation the chance may not come to you again. 

If a man sets to work earnestly and permeates his 
spirit as thoroughly as possible with Theosophical ideas, 
that will build them well into the ego, and will give him 
so great an attraction towards them that he is certain, 
even though he may not remember them in detail, to 
seek for them instinctively, and to recognize them, in 
his next birth. Every man therefore should begin 
Theosophical work just as soon as he hears of it, be- 


cause whatever of it he contrives to achieve, however 
little it may be, will be just so much to the good, and 
he will begin to-morrow where he has left off this time. 
Also by trying to do what he can with such vehicles as 
he has, obstinate and unresponsive though they may 
prove through lack of pliability, he will assuredly do 
much to earn for himself more pliable vehicles for next 
time. So no effort is lost, and it is never too late in 
any given life to enter upon the long, long upward path, 
and to make a commencement in the glorious work of 
helping others. 

With an eternal life before us it would be a mistake 
to worry because the present day is drawing near its 
evening, or in despair to neglect the preparations for 
the coming day. Light on the Path says: "Kill out 
desire of life." This is often misunderstood, but its 
meaning should be plain. You cannot lose your life; 
\vhy then should you desire it? It cannot possibly be 
taken from you. At the same time the quotation means 
that you should kill out desire for particular bodily 


I think that our members sometimes mistake with 
regard to meditation, because they have not thoroughly 
understood the exact way in which it works. They 
sometimes think that because they do not feel happy 
and uplifted after a meditation it is therefore a failure 
and entirely useless, or they find themselves dull and 
heavy and incapable of meditation. There seems no 
reality in anything for them, no certainty about any- 
thing, and they feel that they are making no progress. 
They suppose that this must be somehow their own 
fault and they reproach themselves for it; but they 


often ask what they can do to improve matters and to 
restore the joy they used to feel. 

Now the fact is that that experience in regard to 
meditation is that of all seekers after the spiritual life ; 
you will find that the Christian saints constantly speak 
of their sufferings at periods of what they call "spirit- 
ual dryness," when nothing seems any use and they feel 
as though they had lost sight of God altogether. Im- 
agine that I am sitting looking through a wide-open 
window upon a beautiful hill-side, but the sky is dull 
grey, heavy with a vast pall of cloud probably miles in 
thickness. I have not seen the sun for three days. I 
cannot feel his rays, but I know he is there, and I know 
that some day these clouds will roll away as others 
have done, and I shall see him again. What is neces- 
sary for the life of the world is that he should be there, 
not that I should see him; it is far pleasanter to see 
him and to feel the warmth of his rays, but it is not a 
necessity of life. I know just exactly how these people 
feel, and it is cold comfort to be told that our feelings 
do not matter, even though there is a very real sense in 
which it is true. 

I think it is helpful to remember that our meditation 
has several objects — for example : 

1. To ensure that, however deeply we may be im- 
mersed in the affairs of the world, we shall devote at 
least some time each day to the thought of a high ideal. 

2. To draw us nearer to the Master and to the 
Logos, so that from Them strength may be poured upon 
us and through us to benefit the world. 

3. To train our higher bodies, so that they may 
have constant practice in responding to the highest 
vibrations — to do the same thing for them that a care- 
fully arranged system of gymnastics or regular exer- 
cises does for the physical body. 


Now you will observe that all these objects are at- 
tained just the same whether we feel happy or not. A 
mistake that many people make is to suppose that a 
meditation which is unsatisfactory to them is therefore 
ineffectual. It is just like a little child performing daily 
her hour of practice upon the piano. Sometimes per- 
haps she partially enjoys it, but very often it is a weari- 
ness to her, and her only thought is to finish it as quick- 
ly as possible. She does not know, but we do, that every 
such hour is accustoming her fingers to the instrument, 
and is bringing nearer and nearer the time when she 
will derive from her music an enjoyment of which now 
she does not even dream. You will observe that this 
object is being attained just as much by the unpleasant 
and unsatisfactory hour of practice as by that which 
she enjoys. So in the work of our meditation some- 
times we feel happy and uplifted, and sometimes not; 
but in both cases alike it has been acting for our higher 
bodies as do the exercises of physical culture or train- 
ing for our physical body. It is pleasanter when you 
have what you call a "good" meditation ; but the only 
difference between what seems a good one and a bad 
one lies in its effect upon the feelings, and not in the 
real work which it does towards our evolution. 

The reason of the temporary dullness is not always 
in ourselves — or rather, it is not always attributable to 
anything that can reasonably be called our fault. Often 
it is purely physical, resulting from over-fatigue or a 
nervous strain ; often it is due to surrounding astral or 
mental influences. Of course it is our karma to be 
subjected to these, and so in that more remote way we 
are responsible; but we must just do the best we can 
with them, and there is no need for us to be despondent, 
or to waste our time in reproaching ourselves. 

Another reason also may be that at certain times the 


planetary influences are more favourable for medita- 
tion than at others. I know nothing of this myself, 
for I have never considered the planetary influences in 
these matters, but have always forced my way to what 
I desired ; but I have heard a friend say that an astrol- 
oger told him that on certain occasions when Jupiter 
had certain relations with the moon this had the effect 
of expanding the etheric atmosphere and making medi- 
tation easier, or at least making it appear more success- 
ful. The astrologer gave him a list, which he consulted 
after taking notes of the conditions of his meditations 
daily for three or four weeks, when he found that the 
results exactly agreed with the influences which were 
said to be acting. Certain aspects with Saturn, on 
the other hand, were said to congest the etheric atmos- 
phere, making the work of meditation difficult, and this 
also was verified in the same way. 

The highest thought that we can have is that of the 
supreme Lord of all, but of course we must not suppose 
that our thought changes in the least the attitude of the 
Supreme towards us. We who are students ought to 
be far beyond the stage at which a man thinks that he 
can produce change in the Supreme — a thought which 
belongs only to the ignorant and unphilosophical among 
the Christians. We ourselves however are certainly 
affected by opening ourselves to Him. If you open 
the window of your room to the sun, the condition of 
your room is much changed by the power of the sun, 
but the sun is in no way changed by your opening the 
window. Open the windows of your soul to God. 

During meditation one may try to think of the Su- 
preme Self in everything and everything in it. Try to 
understand how the Self is endeavouring to express 
itself through the form. One method of practice for 
this is to try to identify your consciousness with that 


of various creatures, such as a fly, an ant, or a tree. 
Try to see and feel things as they see and feel them, un- 
til as you pass inwards all consciousness of the tree or 
the insect falls away, and the life of the Logos appears. 
We are very much more than the tree or the ant ; there- 
fore there is no danger of our being unable to with- 
draw our consciousness when the experiment is fin- 
ished. We do not after all imprison it in the form of 
the tree or the ant ; we expand it to take in the life in 
every form. The man who does this for the first time 
is usually surprised when he realizes the limitations 
under which animals act. He had thought an animal 
acted in a certain way for what seemed quite obvious 
reasons, but when he really enters into the animal he 
finds that its motives and intentions are wholly differ- 
ent. The disciple has to go through this process also 
with lower classes of human beings, because without 
it he could not perfectly help them. 

This enables us to get down to the bed-rock of 
the Self, and clears away the darkness and loneli- 
ness which often comes over us at one stage of 
our progress. When we know quite certainly that 
we are part of a whole we do not so much mind 
where this particular fragment of it may be, or 
through what experiences it may be passing. What- 
ever loneliness we may have, we feel, we know, that 
we are never alone ; the Master is always there waiting 
to help where help is possible. We must give up the 
clinging to the particular forms, and have no motive 
but to do the will of the Logos. We must never allow 
the feeling of loneliness to make us forget the Master 
or lose faith in Him, for no progress is possible unless 
we have the fullest confidence in the Master whom we 
choose to serve. If we have only a half-hearted ques- 
tioning faith in Him we cannot progress. We need 


not make the choice of a Master unless we will; but 
having made it we must have faith in the Teacher and 
His message. 

In controlling the mind first turn away the senses 
from outward sounds and sights, and become insensi- 
tive to the waves of thought and emotion from others. 
That is comparatively easy, but the next stage is very 
difficult, for when this is done there come up from 
within disturbances which spring from the uncon- 
trolled activity of the mind. The meditation of many 
of our beginners consists mostly of a continuous strug- 
gle to come back to the point. Heie comes in the advice 
given in The Voice of Silence. "The mind is the slayer 
of the real ; let the disciple slay the slayer." You must 
not of course destroy your mind, for you cannot get 
along without it, but you must dominate it ; it is yours, 
not you. The best way to overcome its wandering is to 
use the will. It is often suggested that the pupil should 
help himself by making a shell round him ; but after all 
shells are but crutches. Develope will, and you will be 
able to dispense with them. The astral body tries to 
impose itself upon you in the same way, and to make 
you believe that its desires are yours ; but with that also 
we must deal in a precisely similar manner. 

There is no limit to the degree to which will may be 
developed. There are decided limitations to the extent 
to which the strength of the physical body can be in- 
creased, but there seem to be no limitations in the case 
of the will. Fortunately we can train it in the ordinary 
small things of daily life every day and all day long, 
and we can have no better practice than this. It is 
much easier for a man to screw up his courage to face 
a dramatic martyrdom before a crowd of people than 
to go on doing the tiresome daily duty with tiresome 
people day after day and year after year. This latter 


needs much more will-power than the former. Be 
careful however that you do not make others suffer in 
your efforts to develope your own will. Sometimes 
people have shown will-power by leaving home and 
friends and going out to face all kinds of difficulties 
and privations in order to do Theosophical work. That 
is quite right if a man is absolutely free to do it ; but a 
man who left his wife and family for that purpose, or 
an only son who left parents that were dependent upon 
him, would evidently be neglecting his duty in a way 
which no one has a right to do, even for the sake of the 
noblest motives. 

As a result of determined meditation we begin to 
build into our bodies the higher kinds of matter. At 
this stage we often feel grand emotions, coming from 
the buddhic level and reflected in the astral body, and 
under their influence we may do fine work and show 
great self-sacrifice. But then is needed the develop- 
ment of the mental and causal bodies in order to steady 
and balance us ; otherwise the grand emotions that have 
swayed us in the right direction may very readily be- 
come a little twisted and sway us along some other and 
less desirable lines. With feeling alone we never ob- 
tain perfect balance or steadiness. It is well that the 
high feelings should come, and the more powerfully 
they come the better, but that is not enough; wisdom 
and steadiness must also be acquired because we need 
directing power as well as motive force. The very 
meaning of buddhic is wisdom, and when that comes it 
swallows up all else. 

Illumination may mean three quite different things. 
First, a man, by setting himself to think intensely and 
very carefully over a subject may arrive at some con- 
clusion with respect to it. Secondly, he may hope to 
obtain some illumination from his higher self — to dis- 


cover what the ego really thinks on its own plane about 
the matter in question. Thirdly, a highly developed 
man may come into touch with Masters or devas. It 
is only in the first case that his conclusions would be 
likely to be vitiated by his own thought-forms. The 
higher self would be able to transcend these, and so 
would a Master or a deva. 

All these would have no difficulty in presenting 
things as they really are ; but we must remember that 
we have not only to absorb the information, but also to 
bring it down into the physical brain, and as soon as it 
reaches that brain it will begin to be coloured by prej- 
udices. What we can do in meditation depends upon 
what we are doing all day long. If we have built up 
prejudices in ordinary life we cannot escape from them 
during the time of meditation ; but if we patiently en- 
deavour to root out our prejudices and to learn that the 
ways of others are just as good as our own, we are at 
least on our way towards establishing a gentle and tol- 
erant attitude which will assuredly extend itself to the 
special time of our meditation. It is easy for us to see 
the disadvantages of. any new ideas or suggestions; 
these leap to the eyes. But look for the good also, which 
does not always so readily emerge. 

During meditation the ego regards the personality 
much as at any other time — he is slightly contemptuous 
usually. Remember your physical meditation is not for 
the ego, but for the training of the various vehicles to 
be a channel for the ego. If the ego is at all developed 
he will meditate also upon his own level ; but it does not 
follow that his meditation will synchronize with that 
of the personality. The force coming down is always 
that of the ego, but only a small part, giving a one- 
sided conception of things. The yoga of a fairly well- 
developed ego is to try to raise his consciousness first 


into the buddhic plane and then through its various 
stages. He does this without reference to what the 
personality happens to be doing at the time. Such an 
ego would probably also send down a little of himself 
at the personal meditation, though his own meditations 
are very different. 

For the development of the powers of the soul, 
thought-control is an essential pre-requisite. When the 
thought is controlled and the will is strong a good deal 
may be achieved in various directions. Much help may 
be given both to the living and to the dead, and those 
who are sick or sorrowful may be greatly helped and 
strengthened. It is well for each member to make it a 
daily practice to devote a certain time to the sending 
out of such thoughts to people v/ho are personally 
known to him — in addition, I mean, 10 the ordinary 
meditation which he undertakes for the sake of his own 
development. The same thing can be done to some ex- 
tent in group meditation; the thoughts of all may be 
concentrated for a few minutes upon some one who is 
known to be in trouble or suffering, and a determined 
effort made to send strength and consolation. The 
same power used in a different way will often cure 
physical diseases. 

As to the development of astral sight and hearing, 
one hardly regards that as an end in itself, but rather as 
a means to an end. It seems best to utilize to the ut- 
most all the powers that we already possess, and wait 
for these others to unfold themselves as the result of 
study and unselfish work. Such powers are undoubt- 
edly a help, though they may be a danger if they come 
before the character is fully developed. For any one 
who wishes to hasten their unfoldment I should recom- 
mend the process which I describe in the last chapter of 
The Other Side of Death. 


Where a house is large enough to permit it, it is a 
good idea to set apart a room especially for meditation. 
I see no harm in holding group-meetings in such a room 
if the group be earnest and harmonious, but not if there 
is to be anything of the nature of discussion or wrang- 
ling. If you are trying experiments with mediums of 
any sort I should advise the use of some other room. 
You ask whether you should enter such a room when 
you feel worried; don't be worried, don't even admit 
the possibility of being worried. I advise you not to 
make a thought-form, "I am worried, therefore I must 
not enter," rather to take exactly the opposite line, "I 
am about to enter, therefore I am no longer worried." 
You will find that much more effective. 

Jfourilj £>*rtum 

®If^ ^tglf^r pian?0 



IT has often been said that in the final consum- 
mation all individual souls merge into the 
Great Soul, and our students sometimes 
find it difficult to reconcile this with other 
statements which seem to imply that the individuality 
is maintained, in some form or other, even up to the 
very greatest heights. The fact is that no experience 
which we can have, and no ideas which we can formu- 
late down here in our physical brain, will at all express 
the glorious realities of nirvana and the planes beyond 
it. We know so little of that transcendent glory, and 
what little we do know can never be put into adequate 
words. Perhaps, however, it is in a certain sense some- 
what misleading to speak of individual souls as merg- 
ing into the Great Soul. Every monad is fundamen- 
tally a spark of the divine triad ; he cannot merge into 
that of which he is already a part. Surely a better 
explanation of what happens would be to say that as 
he evolves the spark develops into flame; he becomes 
more and more conscious of his unity with the divine, 
and so the Logos is able more and more to manifest 
Himself through him. 

This much at least I can say, that up to the highest 
level of consciousness which any of our students have 
yet attained — up even to what is commonly called 
nirvana itself, there is no loss of individuality, of the 
power to think, to plan and to act. Long before that 



there is an entire loss of the sense of separateness, but 
that is a very different thing. Sir Edwin Arnold wrote 
of that beatific condition "the dewdrop slips into the 
shining sea." Those who have passed through that 
most marvelous of experiences know that, paradoxical 
as it may seem, the sensation is exactly the reverse, and 
that a far closer description would be that the ocean 
had somehow been poured into the drop ! 

That consciousness, wide as the sea, with "its centre 
everywhere and its circumference nowhere," is a great 
and glorious fact; but when a man attains it, it seems 
to him that his consciousness has widened to take in all 
that, not that he is merged into something else. And he 
is right, for that which he had ignorantly supposed to 
be his consciousness was never his at all, but only the 
shining of the divine power and wisdom and love 
through him, and he is now at last beginning to realize 
that stupendous fact. The truth is that what is com- 
monly understood by individuality is a delusion and has 
never existed, but all that is best and noblest in that 
conception is maintained up to adeptship and far be- 
yond, even into the realm of the great Planetary Spirits, 
for They are assuredly individuals, though mighty be- 
yond our feeble powers of conception. 

Even though the attempt be foredoomed to failure, 
let me endeavour to give some slight idea of an expe- 
rience which some of us once had in connection with 
this lofty plane. Before we ourselves by our own ef- 
forts were able to touch it, a Master, for certain pur- 
poses of His own, enfolded us in His higher aura, and 
enabled us through Him to know something of the 
glories of nirvana. 

Try to imagine the whole universe filled with and 
consisting of an immense torrent of living light, and 
in it a vividness of life and an intensity of bliss alto- 


gether beyond all description, a hundred thousand 
times beyond the greatest bliss of heaven. At first we 
feel nothing but the bliss; we see nothing but the in- 
tensity of the light; but gradually we begin to realize 
that even in this dazzling brightness there are brighter 
spots — nuclei, as it were — which are built of the light 
because there is nothing but the light, and yet through 
them somehow the light gleams out more brightly, and 
obtains a new quality which enables it to be perceptible 
upon other and lower planes, which without this would 
be altogether beneath the possibility of sensing its 
effulgence. And by degrees we begin to realize that 
these subsidiary suns are the great Ones, that these are 
Planetary Spirits, Great Angels, Karmic Deities, 
Buddhas, Christs and Masters, and that through Them 
the light and the life are flowing down to the lower 
planes. Gradually, little by little, as we become more 
accustomed to the stupendous reality, we begin to see 
that, in a far lower sense, even we ourselves are a 
focus in that cosmic scheme, and that through us also, 
at our much lower level, the light and the life are flow- 
ing to those who are still further away — not from it, 
for we are all part of it and there is nothing else any- 
where — but further from the realization of it, the com- 
prehension of it, the experience of it. 

If we can see and grasp even a little of the glory, we 
can to some extent reflect it to others who are less for- 
tunate. That light shines for every one, and it is the 
only reality; yet men by their ignorance and by their 
foolish actions may so shut themselves away that they 
cannot see it, just as the sun floods the whole world 
with light and life, and yet men may hide themselves 
in caves and cellars where that light cannot be seen. 
Just as a mirror properly placed at the mouth of such 
a cave or cellar may enable those within to participate, 


at least to some extent, in the benefits of the light, so 
may we, when we see the light, reflect it to others who 
have so placed themselves that they cannot perceive it 

No words that we can use can really give even the 
least idea of such an experience as that, for all with 
which our minds are acquainted has long ago disap- 
peared before that level is attained. There is of course 
at that level a sheath of some sort for the spirit, but it is 
impossible to describe it in any words. In one sense it 
seems as though it were an atom, and yet in another it 
seems to be the whole plane. Each man is a centre of 
consciousness and therefore must have some position; 
that focus in the stream of the life of the Logos must, 
one would say, be in one place or another. Yet he feels 
as if he were the whole plane and could focus anywhere, 
and wherever for the moment the outpouring of this 
force stops, that is for him a sheath. The man still 
feels absolutely himself, even though he is so much 
more ; and he is able to distinguish others. He is able 
to recognize with perfect certainty the Great Ones 
whom he knows, yet it is rather by instinctive feeling 
than by any resemblance to anything that he has seen 
before; but if he focusses his consciousness upon one 
of These he gets the effect of the form of the man as 
he knows it in the Augoeides, two planes below. 

The Triple Spirit 

The Monads are clearly all centres of force in the 
Logos, and yet each possesses a very distinct individ- 
uality of his own. In the average man the monad is 
but little in touch with the ego and the lower person- 


ality, which are yet somehow expressions of him. He 
knows from the first what is his object in evolution 
and he grasps the general trend of it, but until that 
portion of him which expresses itself in the ego has 
reached a fairly high stage, he is scarcely conscious 
of the details of life down here, or at any rate takes 
little interest in them. He seems at that stage not to 
know other monads, but rests in indescribable bliss 
without any active consciousness of surroundings. As 
evolution progresses, however, he grasps matters on 
the lower plane much more fully, and finally takes them 
entirely into his own hands, and at that stage he knows 
both himself and others, and his voice within us be- 
comes for us the Voice of the Silence. That voice dif- 
fers for us at different stages. For us now in this 
lower consciousness it is the voice of the ego; when 
we identify ourselves with the ego it is the voice of 
the spirit; when we reach the spirit it is the voice of 
the monad, and when in the far-away future we iden- 
tify ourselves wholly with the monad it will be the 
voice of the Logos; but in every case we have to sub- 
ject the lower and rise above it, before the voice of the 
higher can be heard. 

This monad resides permanently upon the second of 
our planes, and when he descends upon the third, the 
plane of nirvana, he manifests himself as the triple 
spirit, and this triple spirit is a reflection or (even 
more truly) an expression of the Logos as He mani- 
fests Himself in our set of planes. His first manifes- 
tation on our highest plane is also triple. In the first 
of these three aspects He does not manifest Himself 
on any plane below the highest, but in the second He 
descends to the second plane and draws round Him- 
self a garment of its matter, thus making a quite sep- 
arate expression of Him. In the third aspect He 


descends to the upper portion of the third plane, 
and draws round Himself matter of that level, thus 
making a third manifestation. These three are the 
"three persons in one God," of which Christianity 
teaches, telling us in its Athanasian creed that we 
should worship "One God in Trinity and Trinity in 
Unity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing 
the substance" — that is to say, never confusing in our 
minds the work and function of the three separate 
manifestations, each on its own plane, yet never for a 
moment forgetting the eternal unity of the "substance," 
that which lives behind all alike on the highest plane, 
at the level where these three are one. 

Now an exact repetition of this process takes place 
in the case of man, who is in very truth made in the 
image of God. The spirit is triple upon the third plane, 
and the first of its three manifestations does not de- 
scend below that level. The second manifestation de- 
scends one stage, on to the fourth plane, and clothes 
itself with its matter, and then we call it buddhi. Just 
as before, the third aspect descends two planes, and 
shrines itself in matter of the highest level of the men- 
tal plane, and we call that manas, and this trinity of 
atma-buddhi-manas, manifesting in the causal body, is 
what we call the ego. 

Never forget that the ego is not the manas only, but 
the spiritual triad ; at our present stage of evolution 
he rests in his causal body on the higher levels of the 
mental plane, but as he passes onwards his conscious- 
ness will be centred on the buddhic plane, and after- 
wards, when he attains adeptship, on the nirvanic. But 
it must not be supposed that when this further develop- 
ment takes place the manas is in any way lost. When 
the ego draws himself up into the buddhic plane, he 
draws up manas with him into that expression of manas 


which has all the time existed on the buddhic plane, but 
has not been fully vivified until now. In the same way 
when he draws himself up into the nirvanic plane, 
manas and buddhi exist within him just as fully as 
ever, so that now the triple spirit is in full manifesta- 
tion on its own plane in all its three aspects. There- 
fore the spirit is truly seven-fold, for he is triple on 
his own plane, dual on the buddhic, and single on the 
mental, and the unity which is his synthesis makes 
seven. Though he draws back into the higher he re- 
tains the definiteness of the lower. 

This is probably what Madame Blavatsky meant 
when she spoke of the auric egg, but she surrounded 
this idea with great mystery, and it seems likely that 
she was under some pledge not to write freely about it. 
She never clearly explained the triple spirit, but evi- 
dently endeavored to suggest the idea without clearly 
expressing it, for she laid great stress upon the fact 
that, just as the astral plane may be said to be a reflec- 
tion of the buddhic, so may the physical be said to be a 
reflection of the nirvanic, and then she furthermore 
emphasized the fact that there are three bodies or ve- 
hicles of man on the physical plane — apparently going 
out of her way to make this agree, and for that purpose 
dividing the physical body of man into two parts, the 
dense and the etheric, and adding as a third principle 
the vitality which flows through them. Now as this 
vitality exists on all the planes, and might just as well 
be made into additional principles on the astral and 
mental planes as on the physical, it would seem that 
some reason is required for her rather peculiar ar- 
rangement, and perhaps this reason may be found in 
her desire to indicate the triple spirit without actually 
mentioning it. I think the President has said that 
when Madame Blavatsky spoke about the sacred auric 


egg she meant the four permanent atoms within an 
envelope of matter of the nirvanic plane. 

Buddhic Consciousness 

A selfish man could not function on the buddhic plane, 
for the very essence of that plane is sympathy and 
perfect comprehension, which excludes selfishness. A 
man cannot make a buddhic body until he has con- 
quered the lower planes. There is a close connection 
between the astral and the buddhic, the former being 
in some ways a reflection of the latter ; but it must not 
therefore be supposed that a man can leap from the 
astral consciousness to the buddhic without developing 
the intervening vehicles. 

Certainly on the highest levels of the buddhic plane 
a man becomes one with all others, but we must not 
therefore assume that he feels alike towards all. There 
is no reason to suppose that we shall ever feel abso- 
lutely alike towards everybody; why should we? Even 
the Lord Buddha had His favorite disciple Ananda; 
even the Christ regarded Saint John the Beloved in a 
different way from the rest. What is true is that pres- 
ently we shall come to love every one as much as we 
now love our nearest and dearest, but by that time we 
shall have developed for those nearest and dearest a 
type of love of which we have no conception now. The 
buddhic consciousness includes that of many others, 
so that you may put yourself down into another man 
and feel exactly as he does, looking upon him from 
within instead of from without. In that relation you 
will feel no shrinking even from an evil man, because 
you will recognize him as a part of yourself — a weak 
part. You will desire to help him by pouring strength 


into that weak part of yourself. What is required is 
really to be in this attitude and to do it, not merely to 
talk about it or think vaguely of it ; and it is not easy 
to acquire this power. 


It is not necessary for every ego to go through every 
experience, for when you rise to the buddhic level you 
can gain the experience of others, even of those who 
have opposed progress. We shall feel by sympathy. 
We could withdraw if we did not want to feel another's 
suffering; but we should choose to feel it because we 
want to help. On the buddhic plane we enfold the man 
in our own consciousness, and though he knows noth- 
ing of such enfoldment it will to a certain extent lessen 
his sufferings. In all probability we have all had most 
of the experiences of the savage and half-civilized 
stages. An adept would necessarily wish to remove or 
relieve suffering, but we may easily imagine a case in 
which he would see that the good which was being 
produced by the suffering so enormously outweighed 
the present pain that to interfere would not be kindness 
but cruelty to the sufferer. He would see the whole, 
not only the part. His sympathy would be deeper than 
ours, but he would not express it in action except when 
action was useful. 

The Spheres 

In any diagram which represents the various planes 
we usually draw them as lying one above the other like 
the shelves of a book-case. But then in explaining that 
diagram we are careful to say that this must not be 


taken literally, since all the planes interpenetrate and 
all of them are about us here all the time. That is per- 
fectly true, and yet there is a sense in which the shelf- 
like arrangement is true also. We may perhaps draw 
an analogy from the condition of affairs which we find 
existing upon the surface of the physical earth. We 
may take the solid matter for all practical purposes as 
existing only under our feet, as the lowest stratum 
of physical matter, though of course it is true that 
countless millions of particles of solid matter are also 
floating in the air over our heads. 

We may say that, roughly speaking, the liquid matter 
of the earth (chiefly water) lies upon the surface of the 
solid matter, though again it is true that a large amount 
of water interpenetrates the earth beneath us, and also 
that millions of tons of water are raised above the sur- 
face of the earth in the form of clouds. Still, the great 
bulk of the liquid matter of the earth lies on the top of 
its solid matter in the form of the ocean, lakes and 
rivers. Then the gaseous matter of our earth (chiefly 
the atmosphere) lies upon the surface of the water and 
of the solid earth, and extends much further away into 
space than either the liquid or the solid. 

All three conditions of matter exist here at the sur- 
face of the earth where we live, but the water in the 
form of clouds extends further above that surface than 
does ordinary dust, and again the air, though inter- 
penetrating both the others, extends much further 
away still. This is by no means a bad analogy to 
explain the arrangement of the matter of the higher 

What we call our astral plane may also be considered 
as the astral body of the earth. It certainly exists all 
around us, and interpenetrates the solid earth beneath 
our feet, but it also extends far away above our heads, 


so that we may think of it as a huge ball of astral 
matter with the physical earth in the middle of it, much 
as the physical body of a man exists within the ovid 
form which is filled with astral matter, except that in 
the case of the earth the proportionate size of its astral 
body outside the physical is enormously greater than 
in the case of man. But just as in the case of the man 
the densest aggregation of astral matter is that which 
is within the periphery of the physical body, so in the 
case of the earth by far the greater part of its astral 
matter is gathered together within the limit of the 
physical sphere. 

Nevertheless, the portion of the astral sphere which 
is exterior to the physical, extends nearly to the mean 
distance of the moon's orbit, so that the astral planes 
of the two worlds touch one another when the moon is 
in perigee, but do not touch when the moon is in apogee. 
Incidentally, it follows that at certain times of the 
month astral communication with the moon is possible, 
and at certain other times it is not. 

The mental plane of our earth bears about the same 
proportion to the astral as the latter does to the phys- 
ical. It also is a huge globe, concentric with the other 
two, interpenetrating them both, but extending much 
further from the centre than does the astral globe. It 
will be seen that the effect of this is that, while matter 
of all the planes exists together down here, there is a 
certain amount of truth in the illustration of the 
shelves, for beyond the limit of the physical atmosphere 
there is a considerable shell which consists only of 
astral and mental matter, and outside of that again 
another similar shell which consists of mental matter 

When we reach the buddhic plane the extension 
becomes so great that what we might call the buddhic 


bodies of the different planets of our chain meet one 
another, and so there is but one buddhic body for the 
whole chain, which means that in the buddhic vehicle 
it is possible to pass from one of these planets to 
another. I presume that when investigations in a 
similar way are extended to the nirvanic plane it will 
be found that that matter extends so much further that 
other chains are included hi it as well — perhaps the 
entire solar system. 

All this is true as far as it goes, and yet it does not 
convey a really accurate idea of the true position of 
affairs, because of the fact that our minds can grasp 
only three dimensions, whereas in reality there are 
many more, and as we raise our consciousness from 
plane to plane, each step opens before us the possibility 
of comprehending one more of these dimensions. This 
makes it difficult to describe exactly the position of 
those who have passed away from the physical life to 
other planes. Some of such people tend to hover round 
their earthly homes, in order to keep in touch with 
their friends of the physical life and the places which 
they know ; others, on the other hand, have a tendency 
to float away and to find for themselves, as if by specific 
gravity, a level much further removed from the surface 
of the earth. 

The average person passing into the heaven-life, for 
example, tends to float at a considerable distance above 
the surface of the earth, although on the other hand 
some of such men are drawn to our level. Still, broadly 
speaking, the inhabitants of the heaven-world may be 
thought of as living in a sphere or ring or zone round 
the earth. What Spiritualists call the summer-land 
extends many miles above our heads, and as people of 
the same race and the same religion tend to keep 
together after death just as they do during life, we 


have what may be described as a kind of network of 
summer-lands over the countries to which belong the 
people who have created them. 

People find their own level on the astral plane, much 
in the same way as objects floating in the ocean do. 
This does not mean that they cannot rise and fall at 
will, but that if no special effort is made they come to 
their level and remain there. Astral matter gravitates 
towards the centre of the earth just as physical matter 
does ; both obey the same general laws. We may take 
it that the sixth sub-plane of the astral is partially 
coincident with the surface of the earth, while the 
lowest, or seventh, penetrates some distance into the 

The conditions of the interior of our earth are not 
easy to describe. Vast cavities exist in it, and there 
are races inhabitating these cavities, but they are not 
of the same evolution as ourselves. One of these evolu- 
tions, which is at a level distinctly lower than any race 
now existing upon the surface of the earth, is to some 
extent described in the seventeenth life of Alcyone, 
published recently in The Theosophist; the other is 
more nearly at our level, yet utterly different from 
anything that we know. 

As the centre of the earth is approached, matter is 
found to exist in a state not readily comprehensible to 
those who have not seen it; a state in which it is far 
denser than the densest metal known to us, and yet 
flows as readily as water. But yet there is something 
else within even that. Such matter is far too dense for 
any forms of life that we know, but nevertheless, it 
has connected with it an evolution of its own. 

The tremendous pressures which exist here are 
utilized by the Third Logos for the manufacture of 
new elements ; in fact, the central portions of the earth 


may with great truth be regarded as His laboratory, 
for temperatures and pressures are obtainable there of 
which we on the surface have no conception. It is 
there that, under His direction, troops of devas and 
nature-spirits of a particular type combine and sep- 
arate, arrange and rearrange the ultimate physical 
atoms, working along the wonderful double spiral 
which is symbolized in Sir William Crookes' lemnis- 
cates. From this point also, incredible as it seems to 
us, there is a direct connection with the heart of the 
sun, so that elements made there appear in the centre 
of the earth without passing through what we call the 
surface; but it is useless to speak of this until the 
higher dimensions of space are more generally under- 
stood. As in the case of the physical, the densest astral 
matter is far too dense for the ordinary forms of astral 
life ; but that also has other forms of its own which are 
quite unknown to students of the surface. 

In investigating the interior of the earth we did not 
find a central shaft running from pole to pole, such as 
has been described by some mediums, nor did we find 
a number of concentric spheres resting upon cushions 
of steam. At the same time there are certain forces 
which do play through concentric layers, and it is not 
difficult to see what were the natural phenomena which 
deceived those who, in perfect good faith, made that 

There is unquestionably a force of etheric pressure 
just as there is of atmospheric pressure, and it can be 
utilized by man as soon as he can discover some mate- 
rial which is ether-proof. The same pressure exists 
in the astral world. The most ordinary example of this 
is what happens when a man leaves his body in sleep 
or in death. 

When the astral body is withdrawn from the phys- 


ical, we must not suppose that that physical body is 
left without an astral counterpart. The pressure of the 
surrounding astral matter — and that really means the 
action of the force of gravitation on the astral plane — 
immediately forces other astral matter into that 
astrally empty space, just as, if we create a vortex 
and draw out the air from a room, other air flows in 
instantly from the surrounding atmosphere. But that 
astral matter will correspond with curious accuracy to 
the physical matter which it interpenetrates. Every 
variety of physical matter attracts astral matter of 
corresponding density, so that solid physical matter is 
interpenetrated by what we may call solid astral 
matter — that is, matter of the lowest astral sub-plane ; 
whereas physical liquid is interpenetrated by matter 
of the next astral sub-plane — astral liquid ; while phys- 
ical gas in turn attracts its particular correspondence 
— matter of the third astral sub-plane from the bot- 
tom, which might be called astral gas. 

Take the case of a glass of water ; the tumbler (be- 
ing solid matter) is interpenetrated by astral mat- 
ter of the lowest sub-plane; the water in the tum- 
bler (being liquid matter) is interpenetrated by 
astral matter of the second sub-plane, counting from 
the bottom upwards; while the air which surrounds 
both (being gaseous matter) is interpenetrated by as- 
tral matter of the third sub-plane, counting from the 
bottom upwards. 

We must also realize that just as all these things, 
the tumbler, the water, and the air, are interpenetrated 
by physical ether, so are their astral correspondences 
further interpenetrated by the variety of astral matter 
which corresponds to the different types of ether. So 
when a man withdraws his astral body from the phys- 
ical there is an inrush of all three varieties of astral 


matter, because man's physical body is composed of 
solid, liquid and gaseous constituents. Of course there 
is ether in the physical body as well, so there must also 
be astral matter of the higher sub-planes to correspond 
to that. 

The temporary astral counterpart formed during the 
absence of the real astral body is thus an exact copy of 
it so far as arrangement is concerned, but it has no 
real connection with the physical body, and could never 
be used as a vehicle. It is constructed of any astral 
matter of the required kind that happens to be handy ; 
it is merely a fortuitous concourse of atoms, and when 
the true astral body returns it pushes out this other 
astral matter without the slightest opposition. This 
is one reason for the extreme care which ought to be 
exercised as to the surroundings in which we sleep, 
for if those surroundings are evil, astral matter of the 
most objectionable type may fill our physical bodies 
while we are away from them, leaving behind it an 
influence which cannot but react horribly upon the 
real man when he returns. But the instant inrush 
when the body is abandoned shows the existence of 
astral pressure. 

In the same way, when the man has finally left his 
physical body at death, what he leaves is no longer a 
vehicle, but a corpse — not in any true sense a body at 
all, but simply a collection of disintegrating material 
in the shape of a body. Just as we can no longer call 
that truly a body, so we cannot call the astral matter 
which interpenetrates it truly a counterpart in the or- 
dinary sense of the word. Take an imperfect yet per- 
haps helpful analogy. When the cylinder of an engine 
is full of steam, we may regard the steam as the liv- 
ing force within the cylinder, which makes the engine 
move. But when the engine is cold and at rest, the 


cylinder is not necessarily empty ; it may be filled with 
air; yet that air is not its appropriate living force, 
though it occupies the same position as did the steam. 

Astral matter is never really solid at all — only rela- 
tively solid. You know that the mediaeval alchemists 
always symbolized astral matter by water, and one 
of the reasons for that was its fluidity and penetra- 
bility. It is true that the counterpart of any solid phys- 
ical object is always matter of the lowest astral sub- 
plane, which for convenience we often call astral solid 
matter; but we must not therefore endow it with the 
qualities with which we are familiar in solids on this 
plane. The particles in that densest kind of astral 
matter are further apart relatively to their size than 
even gaseous particles; so that it would be easier for 
two of the densest astral bodies to pass through each 
other than it would be for the lightest physical gas to 
diffuse itself in the air. 

On the astral plane one has not the sense of jumping 
over a precipice, but simply of floating over it. If you 
are standing upon the ground, part of your astral body 
interpenetrates the ground under your feet; but 
through your astral body you would not be conscious of 
this fact by anything corresponding to a sense of hard- 
ness, or by any difference in your power of motion. Re- 
member that upon the astral plane there is no sense 
of touch that corresponds to ours upon the physical. 
One never touches the surface of anything, so as to feel 
it hard or soft, rough or smooth, hot or cold; but on 
coming into contact with the interpenetrating sub- 
stance one would be conscious of a different rate of 
vibration, which might of course be pleasant or un- 
pleasant, stimulating or depressing. When on awaken- 
ing in the morning we remember anything correspond- 
ing to our ordinary sense of touch, it is only that in 


bringing the remembrance through, the physical brain 
adopted the means of expression to which we are ac- 

Though the light of all planes comes from the sun, 
yet the effect which it produces on the astral plane is 
entirely different from that on the physical. In astral 
life there is a diffused luminosity, not obviously com- 
ing from any special direction. All astral matter is 
in itself luminous, and an astral body is not like a 
painted sphere, but rather a sphere of living fire. It 
is also transparent, and there are no shadows. It is 
never dark in the astral world. The passing of a phys- 
ical cloud between us and the sun makes no difference 
whatever to the astral plane, nor of course does the 
shadow of the earth which we call night. 

The invisible helper would not pass through a moun- 
tain, if he thought of it as an obstacle; to learn that 
it is not an obstacle is precisely the object of one part 
of what is called "the test of earth." There cannot 
be an accident on the astral plane in our sense of the 
word, because the astral body, being fluidic, cannot 
be destroyed or permanently injured, as the physical 
body can. An explosion on the astral plane might be 
temporarily as disastrous as an explosion of gunpow- 
der on the physical, but the astral fragments would 
quickly collect themselves again. 

People on the astral plane can and do pass through 
one another constantly, and through fixed astral ob- 
jects. Remember that on the astral plane matter is 
so much more fluidic and so much less densely aggre- 
gated. There never can be anything like what we 
mean by a collision, and under ordinary circumstances 
two bodies which interpenetrate are not even apprecia- 
bly affected. If, however, the interpenetration lasts for 
some time, as it does, for example, when two persons 


sit side by side through a service in a church or a per- 
formance in a theatre, a considerable effect may be 

There are many currents which tend to carry about 
persons who are lacking in will, and even those who 
have will but do not know how to use it. During phys- 
ical life the matter of our astral bodies is constantly 
in motion, while after death, unless the will is exer- 
cised for the purpose of preventing it, it is arranged 
in concentric shells with a crust of the coarsest mat- 
ter on the outside. If a man wishes to be of service 
on the astral, this shelling must be prevented, for those 
whose astral bodies have been thus re-arranged are 
confined to one level. If the re-arrangement has al- 
ready occurred, the first thing that is done when a 
person is taken in hand is to break up that condition 
and set him free on the whole of the astral plane. For 
those who are acting as invisible helpers on the astral 
plane there are no separate levels; it is all one. 

In India the idea of service on the astral plane is 
not so widely known as in the West ; the idea of serv- 
ice to God for the attainment of liberation is more 
prominent than that of service to one's fellowmen. 
Atmospheric and climatic conditions make practically 
no difference to work on the astral and mental planes. 
But being in a big city does make a great difference, 
on account of the masses of thought-forms. Some 
psychics require a temperature of about eighty de- 
grees in order to do their best work, while others do 
not work well except at a lower temperature. 

If necessary, occult work can be done anywhere, but 
some places afford greater facilities than others. For 
example, California has a very dry climate with much 
electricity in the air, which is favourable for the de- 
velopment of clairvoyance. Here in Adyar there is 


no resistance to our thought-forms on account of the 
environment, because we are all thinking more or less 
along the same lines. But we must remember that 
there may always be resistance on the part of the per- 
son to whom we are sending thoughts, for some per- 
sons have for a whole life-time built round themselves 
such shells of selfishness that one cannot penetrate 
them even when one wishes to do them good. 

Jfftftlj $*rtum 

®lj? Egn au& 2jta letfuUs 

* =a s 


The Ego and the Personality 

HERE are still many of our members who 
do not fully understand the problem of the 
higher and the lower self. Nor is this won- 
derful ; for we are repeatedly told that there 
is only one consciousness, and yet we often clearly 
feel two, so it is not remarkable that students should 
be uncertain as to the real relation between these two, 
and should wonder whether the ego is entirely dis- 
sociated from his physical body and has an existence 
of his own among his fellows on his own plane. 

This problem of the lower and higher self is an old 
one, and it is undoubtedly difficult to realize that there 
is after all only one consciousness, and that the appar- 
ent difference is caused only by the limitations of the 
various vehicles. The whole consciousness works on 
its own higher mental plane, but in the case of the ordi- 
nary man only partially and vaguely as yet. So far as 
it is active it is always on the side of good, because 
it desires that which is favorable to its evolution as 
a soul. It puts a portion of itself down into lower mat- 
ter, and that portion becomes so much more keenly 
and vividly conscious in that matter that it thinks and 
acts as though it were a separate being, forgetting its 
connection with that less developed yet far wider self- 
consciousness above. So sometimes it seems as though 
the fragment worked against the whole; but the man 
who is instructed declines to be deluded, and reaches 
back through the keen alert consciousness of the frag- 



ment to the true consciousness behind, which is as 
yet so little developed. 

Undoubtedly the ego is only very partially expressed 
by his physical body, yet we should not be accurate 
in speaking of him as dissociated from that body. If 
we figure the ego as a solid body and the physical plane 
as a surface, the solid body if laid upon that surface 
could manifest itself through that surface only as a 
plane figure, which would obviously be an exceedingly 
partial expression. We can see also that if the various 
sides of the solid were laid upon the surface succes- 
sively we might obtain expressions which differed con- 
siderably, though all of them would be imperfect, be- 
cause in all cases the solid would have an extension 
in an entirely different direction, which could by no 
means be expressed in the two dimensions of the super- 
ficies. We shall obtain a nearly accurate symbolism 
of the facts as far as the ordinary man is concerned 
if we suppose the solid to be conscious only so far as 
it is in contact with the surface, although the results 
gained through the manifestation of such conscious- 
ness would inhere in the solid as a whole, and would 
be present in any later expression of it, even though 
that might differ considerably from previous expres- 

It is only in the case of those already somewhat ad- 
vanced that we can speak of the ego as having a con- 
scious existence among his fellows on his own plane. 
From the moment that he breaks off from his group- 
soul and commences his separate existence, he is a 
conscious entity ; but the consciousness is of an exceed- 
ingly vague nature. The only physical sensation which 
occasionally comes to some persons is at the moment 
of awakening in the morning. There is a state inter- 
mediate between sleeping and waking in which a man 


is blissfully conscious that he exists, and yet is not 
conscious of any surrounding objects, not capable of 
any movement. Indeed, he sometimes knows that any 
movement would break the spell of happiness and bring 
him down into the ordinary waking world, and so he 
endeavours to remain still as long as possible. 

That condition — a consciousness of existence and of 
intense bliss — closely resembles that of the ego of the 
average man upon the higher mental plane. He is 
wholly centred there only for the short time which 
intervenes between the end of one life in the heaven- 
world and the commencement of his next descent into 
incarnation ; and during that short period there comes 
to him the flash of retrospect and prospect — a glimpse 
of what his last life has done for him, and of what his 
next life is intended to do. For many ages these 
glimpses are his only moments of full awakening, and 
it is his desire for a more perfect manifestation, his 
desire to feel himself more thoroughly alive and active, 
which drives him into the effort of incarnation. It 
is not desire for life in the ordinary sense of the word, 
but rather for that complete consciousness which in- 
volves the power to respond to all possible vibrations 
from the surroundings on every plane, so that he may 
attain the perfection of sympathy. 

When the ego is still undeveloped the forces of the 
higher mental plane pass through him practically with- 
out affecting him, as he cannot respond to more than 
a very few of these extremely fine vibrations. It needs 
powerful and comparatively coarse vibrations to af- 
fect him at first, and these do not exist upon his own 
plane, and for that reason he has to put himself down 
to lower levels in order to find them. Therefore full 
consciousness comes to him at first only in the lowest 
and densest of his vehicles, his attention being f ocussed 


for a long time down in the physical plane; so that, 
although that plane is so much lower than his own 
and offers so much less scope for activity, in those early 
stages he feels himself much more alive when he is 
working there. As the consciousness increases and 
widens its scope he gradually begins to work more and 
more in matter one stage higher — that is, in astral 

At a much later stage, when he has attained to clear 
working in astral matter, he begins to be able also to 
express himself through the matter of his mental body 
and the end of his present effort is achieved when he 
works as fully and clearly in the matter of the causal 
body on the higher mental plane as he does now on the 
physical plane. 

These stages of full development of consciousness 
must not be confounded with the mere learning to use 
to some extent the respective vehicles. A man is using 
his astral body whenever he expresses an emotion; 
he is using his mental body whenever he thinks. But 
that is very far from his being able to utilize either 
of them as independent vehicles through which con- 
sciousness can be fully expressed. When a man is 
fully conscious in his astral body, he has already made 
a considerable amount of progress; when he has 
bridged over the chasm between the astral conscious- 
ness and the physical, day and night no longer exist 
for him, since he leads a life unbroken in its continu- 
ity. For him death also has ceased to exist, since he 
carries that unbroken consciousness not only through 
night and day, but also through the portals of death 
itself and up to the end of his life upon the astral plane. 

One step of further development lies open to him — - 
the consciousness of the heaven-world; and then his 
life and memory are continuous during the whole of 


each descent into incarnation. Yet one step more 
raises the full consciousness to the level of the ego on 
the higher mental plane, and after that he has always 
with him the memory of all his lives, and he is ca- 
pable of consciously directing the various lower mani- 
festations of himself at all points of his progress. 

It must not be supposed that the development of any 
of these stages of consciousness is ever sudden. The 
actual rending of the veil between two stages is usually 
a fairly rapid process, sometimes even instantaneous. 
A man who has normally no memory of what happens 
on the astral plane may unintentionally, by some acci- 
dent or illness, or intentionally by certain definite prac- 
tices, bridge over the interval and make the connec- 
tion, so that from that time onward his astral con- 
sciousness will be continuous, and his memory of what 
happens while the physical body is asleep will there- 
fore be perfect. But long before such an effort or acci- 
dent is possible for him the full consciousness must 
have been working in the astral body, even though in 
the physical life he knew nothing of it. 

In exactly the same way a man must have been for 
a long time thoroughly practised in the use of his men- 
tal body as a vehicle before he can hope to break the 
barrier between that and the astral, so that he can have 
the pleasure of continuous recollection. By analogy 
this leads us to see that the ego must have been fully 
conscious and active on his own plane for a long time 
before any knowledge of that existence can come 
through to us in our physical life. 

There are many in whom the ego has already to some 
extent awakened from the condition of mere bliss which 
was described above, and is at least partially conscious 
of his own surroundings, and therefore of other egos. 
From that time on he leads a life and has interests and 


activities on his own plane ; but even then we must re- 
member that he puts down into the personality only 
a very small part of himeslf, and that that part con- 
stantly becomes entangled in interests which, because 
they are so partial, are often along different lines from 
the general activities of the ego himself, who conse- 
quently does not pay any particular attention to the 
lower life of the personality, unless something rather 
unusual happens to it. 

When this stage is reached he usually comes under 
the influence of a Master; indeed often his first clear 
consciousness of anything outside himself is his touch 
with that Master. The tremendous power of the Mas- 
ter's influence magnetises him, draws his vibrations 
into harmony with its own, and multiplies manyfold 
the rate of his development. It rays upon him like 
sunshine upon a flower, and he evolves rapidly under 
its influence. This is why, while the earlier stages 
of progress are so slow as to be almost imperceptible, 
when the Master turns His attention upon the man, 
developes him and arouses his own will to take part 
in the work, the speed of his advancement increases 
in geometrical progression. 

Of that stream of divine influence poured upon the 
ego by the Master, the amount which can be passed 
on to the personality depends upon the connection be- 
tween it and the ego, which is very different in dif- 
ferent cases. There is almost infinite variety in human 
life. The spiritual force rays upon the ego, and some 
little of it certainly comes through into the person- 
ality, because though the ego has put forth a part of 
himself he does not cut himself off entirely from it, 
notwithstanding the fact that in the case of all ordi- 
nary people the ego and the personality are very dif- 
ferent things. 


The ego in ordinary men has not much grasp of the 
personality, nor a clear conception of his purpose in 
sending it forth; and, again, the small piece which 
meets us in the personality grows to have ways and 
opinions of its own. It is developing by the experience 
which it gains, and this is passed on to the ego; but 
along with this real development it usually gathers a 
good deal which is hardly worthy of that name. It 
acquires knowledge, but also prejudices, which are 
not really knowledge at all. It does not become quite 
free from these prejudices — not only of knowledge 
(or rather its absence) but of feeling and action as 
well — until the man reaches adeptship. It gradually 
discovers these things to be prejudices, and progresses 
through them ; but it has always a great deal of limita- 
tion from which the ego is entirely free. 

As to the amount of the spiritual force which is 
passed to the personality, one can only decide in a 
particular case by using clairvoyance. But something 
of it must flow through always, because the lower is 
attached to the higher, just as the hand is attached 
to the body by the arm. It is certain that the person- 
ality must get something, but it can have only what 
it has made itself able to receive. It is also a ques- 
tion of qualities. The Master often plays upon quali- 
ties in the ego which are much obscured in the per- 
sonality, and in that case of course very little comes 
down. As only those experiences of the personality 
can be handed on to the spiritual or permanent ego 
which are compatible with his nature and interests, 
so only those impulses to which it is able to respond 
can express themselves in the personality. Remember, 
though, that the former tends to exclude the bad and 
the latter the good — or rather we should call them 
the material and the spiritual, for nothing is bad. 


One may sometimes see by clairvoyance many of 
these influences at work. On a certain day, for ex- 
ample, we may see a characteristic of the personality 
much intensified, with no outward reason. The cause 
is often to be found in what is taking place at some 
higher level — the stimulation of that quality in the 
ego. Sometimes a man finds himself overflowing v. ith 
affection or devotion, and quite unable on the physical 
plane to understand why. The cause is usually, again. 
the stimulation of the ego, or it may be that the ego 
is taking some special interest in the personality for 
the time being. 

In meditation we sometimes draw such attention on 
the part of the ego, though it is well to keep in mind 
that we must try to reach up to join that higher ac- 
tivity, rather than to interrupt it to draw down its 
attention to the lower. The higher influence is cer- 
tainly invited by right meditation, which is always 
effective, even though on the physical plane things may 
seem to be very dull and quite without zest. The reach- 
ing upwards of the ego himself often means his neg- 
lect to send energy down to the personality, and this, 
of course, leaves the latter feeling rather dull and in 
the shade. The extent, then, to which the personality 
is influenced by the effort of the Master depends upon 
two things principally — the strength of the connec- 
tion at the time between the ego and the personality; 
and the particular work which the Master is doing 
upon the ego, that is, the particular qualities upon 
which He is playing. 

Meditation and the study of spiritual subjects in 
this earthly life make a very great difference in the 
life of the ego. The ordinary person who has not taken 
up spiritual matters seriously has only a thread of 
connection between the higher and the lower self. The 


personality in his case seems to be all, and the ego, 
though he undoubtedly exists on his own plane, is not 
at all likely to be doing anything actively there. He 
is very much like a chicken which is growing inside 
an egg. But in the case of some of us who have been 
making efforts in the right direction, we may hope 
that the ego is becoming quite vividly conscious. He 
has broken through his shell, and is living a life of 
great activity and power. As we go on, we shall be- 
come able to unify our personal consciousness with the 
life of the ego, as far as that is possible, and then we 
shall have only the one consciousness ; even down here 
we shall have the consciousness of the ego, who will 
know all that is going on. But with many people at 
the present day there is often considerable opposition 
between the personality and the ego. 

There are other things to be taken into account. It 
is by no means always accurate to judge the ego by 
his manifestation in the personality. An ego of in- 
tensely practical type may make much more show on 
the physical plane than another of far higher develop- 
ment, if the energy of the latter happens to be concen- 
trated almost exclusively upon the causal or buddhic 
levels. Therefore people who see only on the physical 
plane are frequently entirely wrong in their estimation 
of the relative position of others. 

If you have to deal with a fairly advanced ego, you 
will sometimes find him rather inconsiderate of his 
body. You see whatever is put down into the person- 
ality is so much taken from him! I have again and 
again seen cases in which the ego was to some extent 
impatient and withdrew into himself somewhat; but 
on the other hand in cases such as these there is al- 
ways a flow between the ego and the personality, which 
is not possible with the ordinary man. In the ordinary 


man the part is, as it were, put down and left, though 
not of course quite cut off; but at this more advanced 
stage there is a constant communication between the 
two along the channel. Therefore, the ego can with- 
draw a great deal of himself whenever he chooses, and 
leave a very poor representation of the real man be- 
hind. So the relation between the lower and the higher 
self varies much in different people and at different 
stages of development. 

As to the work of the ego, he may be learning things 
on his own plane ; or he may be helping other egos — 
there are many kinds of work for which he may need 
an accession of strength. And then he may forget for 
a time to pay his personality proper attention, just as 
even a good man may occasionally, under some special 
pressure of business, forget his horse or his dog. Some- 
times when that happens the personality reminds him 
of its existence by blundering into some foolishness 
which causes serious suffering. You may have noticed 
that sometimes, after you have completed a special 
piece of work that has needed the co-operation of 
the ego to a large extent — as, for example, lectur- 
ing to a large audience — he takes away the energy 
and leaves the personality with only enough to feel 
rather dispirited. For a time he admitted that 
there was some importance in the work, and there- 
fore poured down a little more of himself, but after- 
wards he leaves the poor personality feeling rather 

Of course, depression comes much more often from 
other reasons, such as the presence of an astral entity 
in a low-spirited condition, or of some non-human 
beings. And joy also is not always due to the influence 
of the ego, for the fact is that the man does not think 
much about his own feelings when he is in a fit condi- 


tion to receive an influx of power. Joy may be produced 
by the proximity of harmonious nature-spirits, or in a 
variety of other ways. The channel between the ego and 
personality is by no means always open. Sometimes 
it appears to be almost choked up — a condition of af- 
fairs which is quite a possibility in view of its narrow- 
ness in most cases. Then the force may break through 
again on some occasion, such as that of a conversion. 
But for many of us there is a constant flow in some 
measure. Meditation, conscientiously done, opens the 
channel and keeps it open. Always remember, though, 
that it is better to try to go up to the ego than to bring 
it down to the personality. 

Every ego has a certain knowledge of his own. He 
obtains a glimpse, between lives, of his past and fu- 
ture ; in the undeveloped man this awakens the ego for 
a moment, after which he falls asleep again. During 
physical life the ordinary ego is to some extent capable 
of brooding watchfulness and a little effort, but is still 
in a sleepy condition. With a developed man the ego 
is fully awake. The ego in course of time discovers 
that there are a good many things which he can do, 
and when this happens he may rise into a condition in 
which he has a definite life on his own plane, though 
in many cases it is even then but dreamy. It is the 
ego's purpose to learn to be fully active on all planes, 
even the physical. 

Suppose you have an ego whose principal method 
of manifesting himself is by affection. That quality 
is what he wants exhibited by his personality, and if 
you down here try to feel strong affection and make a 
specialty of that, the ego will promptly throw more of 
himself down into the personality, because he finds 
in it exactly what he desires. Be careful to provide 
what he needs, and he will quickly take advantage of 


it. Egos on their own plane can help other egos, when 
they are sufficienty developed to do so. The ego of 
the ordinary person has rather a vegetable conscious- 
ness or life, and seems to be only just aware of other 
egos. The personality will not know what the ego 
does, unless they have been unified. The ego may know 
the Master while the personality does not. The study 
of inner things, and living the life, wakes up the ego. 
Purely unselfish devotion belongs to the higher planes 
and concerns him. 

I do not think the experiences of the personality 
can be transmitted to the ego, but the essence of them 
may. He cares little for the details, but he wants the 
essence of it. Any of those thoughts that we consider 
evil are impossible for the ego. For precise defini- 
tion he must come down into the physical body. He 
devotes himself more especially during the heaven-life 
to the assimilation of the experiences of the person- 
ality, but he is doing it all the time. When you take 
up the study of Theosophy, and live the life, you begin 
to call the attention of the ego by sending up vibra- 
tions to which he can respond. The ordinary man has 
in his life little that appeals to the ego. 

High unselfish affection and devotion belong to the 
highest astral sub-plane, and these reflect themselves 
in the corresponding matter of the mental plane, so 
that they touch the causal, not the lower mental. Thus 
only unselfish thoughts affect the ego. All the lower 
thoughts affect the permanent atoms, but not the ego ; 
and corresponding to them you would find gaps in the 
causal body, not bad colors. Selfishness below shows 
in it as absence of affection or sympathy, and when 
the good quality developes the gap will be filled up. 
In the causal body you can see whether a man can 
possibly fail in this or that quality. Try to develope 


the qualities the ego wants, and he will come down 
to help. 

As is said in Light on the Path, watch for the ego, 
and let him fight through you, and yet at the same 
time never forget that you are the ego. Therefore 
identify yourself with him and make the lower give 
way to you the higher. Yet do not be too greatly dis- 
heartened if you should fall even many times, for even 
failure is to a certain extent a success, since we learn 
by it and so are wiser to meet the next problem. We 
cannot always succeed now at every point, though we 
surely shall do so ultimately. But never forget that 
it is not expected of us that we shall always succeed, 
but only that we shall do our best. 


When the ego descends into incarnation, he draws 
round himself a mass of astral matter, not yet formed 
into a definite astral body ; this takes, in the first place, 
the shape of that ovoid which is the nearest expres- 
sion that we can realize of the true shape of the causal 
body. But when the further step downward and out- 
ward into physical incarnation is taken, and a little 
physical body is formed in the midst of that astral mat- 
ter, it immediately begins to exert a violent attrac- 
tion over it, so that the great majority of the astral 
matter (which previously may be thought of as fairly 
evenly distributed over the large oval) now becomes 
concentrated into the periphery of that physical body. 

As the physical body grows, the astral matter fol- 
lows its every change, and thus we find man present- 
ing the spectacle of an astral body, ninety-nine per 


cent of which is compressed within the periphery of 
his physical body, only about the remaining one per 
cent filling the rest of the ovoid form. In the plates 
in Man, Visible and Invisible we have sketched in the 
outline of the physical body merely in pencil, so that 
it shows but slightly, because my especial desire in 
that book was to emphasize the colors of the ovoid, 
and the way in which they illustrate the development 
of man by the transfer of vibrations from the lower 
bodies to the higher ; but in reality that astral counter- 
part of the physical body is very solid and definite, and 
quite clearly distinguishable from the surrounding 

Note, therefore, that the astral matter takes the ex- 
act form of the physical matter merely because of the 
attraction which the latter has for the former. But 
we must further realize tbat although we may speak 
of the lowest sub-plane of the astral as corresponding 
to solid physical matter, it is yet very different in tex- 
ture, for all astral matter bears to its corresponding 
physical matter something the same sort of relation 
that the liquid bears to the solid. Therefore the par- 
ticles of the astral body, whether in the finest or coars- 
est parts of it, are constantly in motion among them- 
selves, just as are particles of flowing water; and it 
will consequently be seen that it is quite impossible 
for the astral body to possess specialized organs in the 
same sense as does the physical body. 

No doubt there is an exact counterpart in astral mat- 
ter of the rods and cones which make up the retina 
of the physical eye ; but the particles which at one mo- 
ment are occupying that particular position in an astral 
body may, a second or two later, be moving through 
the hand or the foot. One does not, therefore, see upon 
the astral plane by means of the astral counterpart of 


the physical eyes, nor does one hear with the astral 
counterpart of the physical ears ; indeed, it is perhaps 
not exactly correct to apply the terms "seeing" and 
"hearing" to astral methods of cognizance, since these 
terms are commonly held to imply specialized sense- 
organs, whereas the fact is that every particle in the 
astral body is capable of receiving and transmitting 
vibrations from one of its own type, but its own type 
only. Thus when one obtains a glimpse of astral con- 
sciousness, one is surprised to find oneself able to see 
on all sides simultaneously, instead of only in front 
as one does on the physical plane. The exact corre- 
spondence of the astral body to the physical therefore 
is merely a matter of external form, and does not at 
all involve any similarity of function in the various 

But the attraction continued all through life sets up 
a kind of habit or momentum in the astral matter, 
which causes it to retain the same form even while it 
is withdrawn temporarily from the attraction of the 
physical body at night and permanently after death; 
so that even through the long astral life the lineaments 
of the physical body which was put aside at death will 
still be preserved almost unchanged. Almost — because 
we must not forget that thought has a powerful influ- 
ence upon astral matter and can readily mould it, so 
that a man who habitually thinks of himself after 
death as younger than he actually was at the time of 
that death will gradually come to present a somewhat 
younger appearance. 

A questioner asks, "If the arm of a man, the branch 
of a tree, or the leg of a chair were cut off, would in 
each case the astral counterpart also be removed, and 
can we, by breaking an astral counterpart, produce 
a fracture in a physical object? That is to say, if with 


the hand of my astral body I break the astral counter- 
part of a chair, will the physical chair also be broken ?" 

The three cases given are not quite analogous. Both 
the tree and the man have the life within them which 
makes the astral body in each case a coherent whole. 
It is strongly attracted by the particles of the physical 
body, and therefore adapts itself to its shape, but if 
part of that physical body be removed, the coherence 
of the living astral matter is stronger than the attrac- 
tion towards that severed portion of the physical. Con- 
sequently the astral counterpart of the arm or branch 
will not be carried away with the severed physical 
fragment. Since it has acquired the habit of keep- 
ing that particular form, it will continue for a short 
time to retain the original shape, but will soon with- 
draw within the limits of the maimed form. 

In the case of an inanimate body, such as a chair 
or a basin, there would not be the same kind of indi- 
vidual life to maintain cohesion. Consequently when 
the physical object was broken the astral counterpart 
would also be divided ; but it would not be possible to 
break an astral counterpart, and in that way to affect 
the physical object. In other words the act of frac- 
tion must begin on the physical plane. 

One could of course move a purely astral object by 
means of an astral hand if one wished, but not the 
astral counterpart of a physical object. In order to 
perform this latter feat it would be necessary to mate- 
rialize a hand and move the physical object, when the 
astral counterpart would of course accompany it. The 
astral counterpart is there because the physical object 
is there, just as the scent of a rose fills the room be- 
cause the rose is there. To suggest that by moving 
the astral counterpart one could also move the physi- 
cal object is like suggesting that by moving the smell 


one could move the physical rose which causes the 

The astral body changes its particles as does the 
physical, but fortunately the clumsy and tiresome proc- 
ess of cooking, eating and digesting food is not a ne- 
cessity on the astral plane. The particles which fall 
away are replaced by others from the surrounding at- 
mosphere. The purely physical cravings of hunger and 
thirst no longer exist there ; but the desire of the glut- 
ton to gratify the sensation of taste, and the desire of 
the drunkard for the exhilaration which follows, for 
him, the absorption of alcohol — these are both astral, 
and therefore they still persist, and cause great suffer- 
ing because of the absence of the physical body through 
which alone they could be satisfied. 

So far as we are at present aware the astral body 
does not appear to be susceptible to fatigue. 

The ordinary man while possessing a physical body 
naturally never has the opportunity of working for any 
length of time consecutively upon the astral plane, for 
his nights of astral work alternate with days of phys- 
ical work. I knew, however, of one case of a man who, 
having the right to take a rapid reincarnation, had to 
wait upon the astral plane twenty-five years for the 
special conditions which he required. He spent the 
whole of this time in working for the help of others, 
without any intermission except the occasional attend- 
ance at classes held by pupils of our Masters ; and he 
assured me that he had never felt the slightest sense of 
fatigue — that in fact he had forgotten what it meant 
to be tired. 

We all know that excessive or long-continued emo- 
tion tires us very quickly in ordinary life, and since 
emotion is an expression of the astral, that may per- 
haps lead some to suppose that fatigue of the astral 


body is possible. I think, however, that it will be found 
that what is subject to fatigue is merely the physical 
organism through which everything in us which mani- 
fests on this plane must pass. What we call mental 
fatigue is a parallel case. There is no such thing as 
fatigue in the mind; what we call by that name is only 
fatigue of the physical brain through which that mind 
has to express itself. 

A spectator who has not been able to raise his sight 
above the astral level will of course see only astral mat- 
ter when he looks at the aura of his fellow-men. He will 
see that this astral matter not only surrounds the 
physical body but also interpenetrates it, and that with- 
in the periphery of that body it is much more densely 
aggregated than in that part of the aura which lies 
outside. This is due to the attraction of the large 
amount of dense astral matter which is gathered to- 
gether there as the counterpart of the cells of the phys- 
ical body. 

When during sleep the astral body is drawn from the 
physical this arrangement still persists, and then any 
one looking at the astral body with clairvoyant vision 
would still see, just as before, a form resembling the 
physical body surrounded by an aura. That form 
would now be composed only of astral matter, but still 
the great difference in density between it and its sur- 
rounding mist would be quite sufficient to make it 
clearly distinguishable, even though it is itself only 
a form of denser mist. 

There is a considerable difference in appearance be- 
tween the evolved and the unevolved man. Even in the 
case of the latter the features and shape of the inner 
form are recognizable always, though blurred and 
indistinct; but the surrounding egg scarcely de- 
serves the name, for it is in fact a mere shapeless 


wreath of mist, having neither regularity nor perma- 
nence of outline. 

In the more developed man the change is very 
marked, both in the aura and the form within it. This 
latter is much more distinct and definite — a closer re- 
production of the man's physical appearance ; while in- 
stead of the floating mist-wreath we see a sharply de- 
fined ovoid form preserving its shape unaffected amidst 
all the varied currents which are always swirling 
round it on the astral plane. Though the arrangement 
of the astral body is largely changed after death by the 
action of the desire elemental, such alteration does 
not in any way affect the recognizability of the form 
within the egg, though the natural changes which take 
place tend on the whole to make the form grow some- 
what fainter and more spiritual in appearance as time 
passes on. 

Colors in the Astral Body 

Any comparatively permanent color in the astral 
body means a persistent vibration, which in the course 
of time produces its effect upon the mental body, and 
also upon the causal body, so that the higher qualities 
developed by the life on the lower planes are grad- 
ually built into the permanent causal body, and so be- 
come qualities of the soul itself. The colors may be 
mingled to any extent; for example, affection (rose) 
mingled with religious devotion (blue) will give a 
lovely violet. It is only the good thought or feeling 
which can produce an effect in the causal body, and 
so be permanently stored up as part of the man. Other 
kinds of thought and feeling remain in the lower ve- 
hicles and are comparatively impermanent. The size 
of a thought-form shows the strength of the emotion. 

260 the inner life 

The Causal Body 

No number of physical bodies could fully contain 
the causal body, any more than any number of lines 
can make a square, or any number of squares can make 
a cube. The ego puts himself down into his various 
bodies with the hope of gaining two things — to make 
the causal body learn to respond to more vibrations, 
and also to increase its size. Most people are not more 
than just conscious in the causal body. The strings 
of such egos cannot be played upon directly, but are 
affected from below by way of overtones. Most men 
can at present only work on the matter of the third 
sub-plane of the mental (the lowest part of their causal 
bodies), and indeed only the lower matter even of that 
is usually in operation. When they are on the Path, 
the second sub-plane opens up. The adept uses the 
whole causal body while his consciousness is on the 
physical plane. A rough and ready way of deciding 
at what stage a man stands is to look at the causal 
body. It shows also how he arrived there. Men de- 
velop unequally — we are all undeveloped in some way. 
An animal has a minimum-sized causal body as soon as 
he is individualized ; then it has to be developed both as 
to size and color. 

The Desire-Elemental 

Much of the matter of the astral body is vivified by 
elemental essence, which is cut off for the time being 
from the general mass which belongs to the plane, and 
becomes the man's expression on that plane. This is 
a living, though not an intelligent essence. But it has 
a kind of instinct which Mr. Sinnett calls "dawning 


intelligence," which guides it into getting what it 
wants. Blindly and without reason, but instinctively, 
it seeks its ends, and shows great ingenuity in obtain- 
ing its desires and in furthering its evolution. 

Evolution for it is a descent into matter; its aim is 
to become a mineral- monad. Therefore, its object in 
life is to get as near to the physical plane as it can, 
to come into contact with as many of the vibrations 
of the coarser kind as possible. It knows nothing 
of you; it could not know or imagine anything of 
you; but it does realize that it is apart from the 
general stock, and that it is good to be apart. It 
is not a devil, and you must not get the idea that it is to 
be hated. 

It is part of the Divine Life, just as you are; but 
its interests are diametrically opposed to yours. It 
wants to evolve downwards; you want to evolve up- 
wards. It desires to preserve its separate life, and 
it feels that it can do so only by means of its connec- 
tion with you. It is conscious of a something which 
is your lower mind, and realizes that if it can englobe, 
as it were, this mind, and persuade you that its and 
your interests are one, you will increasingly supply it 
with the sensations it desires. When it gets the mat- 
ter sufficiently entangled to suit its purpose, you cannot 
then withdraw it, the result being that some of this 
matter of the lower mind is then lost to you altogether 
in the life after death. 

So, you see, here is the desire-elemental seeking its 
own ends; not knowing that it is injuring you by try- 
ing to entangle your lower mind. The more it can do 
this the better for it, for the more mental matter it 
can entangle the longer will be its astral life — that life 
still enduring even after you have passed into the 
heaven-world. In Theosophical phraseology it has been 


known as the shade. Your business is not to allow 
yourself to be deceived; it understands nothing of 
your evolution, and is not responsible for it; it simply 
tries to turn you to its own purpose. You ought to 
understand the situation, and refuse to be drawn. Do 
let us realize this : that this elemental is not ourselves. 
It is never you who desire these lower things, but this 

It is not so much that we have to make a great fight 
against it, but we should shake ourselves free, saying : 
"This is not I ; I do not want this lower thing." Some- 
body wants it. Yes, it is this elemental ; and you are 
responsible for its likes and wants, for in your last 
life you made it what it is. Not that this particular 
collection of astral matter and elemental essence ex- 
isted then ; it did not, for it was newly gathered to- 
gether at your birth this time. But it is an exact re- 
production of the matter in your astral body at the 
end of your last astral life. Nevertheless it is not you ; 
and you must ever bear this in mind all through life, 
and even more during the life after death, for then 
it has still greater power to deceive you. 

But you may think that by thus refusing to allow 
it to influence you, you are checking its evolution. Not 
at all. You are doing better for the elemental if you 
control the lower passions, and take a firm stand of 
your own. It is true you do not develope a very low 
part of it ; but you may drop the lower and evolve the 
higher. An animal can supply the lower kinds of vi- 
brations even better than you can yourself, whereas 
none but man can evolve the higher type of essence. 

After the death of the physical body the ordinary 
man, who has never heard all this, finds himself when 
he wakes up on the other side in a totally unexpected 
condition of affairs, and is generally more or less dis- 


turbed thereby. Finally, he accepts these conditions 
which he does not understand, thinking them necessary 
and inevitable. Some no doubt are, but some are not, 
and with knowledge the latter could be transcended. 

The elemental is afraid, because it knows that the 
death of the physical body means that the term of its 
separated life is limited ; it knows that the man's astral 
death will more or less quickly follow, and with it the 
loss to it of vivid and intense sensations. Consequently 
it adopts the best plan it can think of for the preserva- 
tion of the man's astral body. It evidently knows 
enough of astral physics to realize that the coarsest 
matter can hold together longest, and best stand fric- 
tion. So it arranges the matter in rings, the coarsest 
on the outside. And in so doing it is right, from its 
point of view. During physical life the astral body 
is like swirling, boiling water, but after death it ar- 
ranges the matter in a series of graduated sheaths, 
so that full circulation is impossible. 

Now there are no sense organs in the astral body. 
There are in it organs corresponding to the physical 
sense-organs, but you do not see, hear and smell with 
them. You hear and see all over the surface of the 
body. Each sub-plane has its own matter; and it is 
by means of the matter of that sub-plane in your body 
that you can respond to its vibrations. Whatever mat- 
ter is on the outside (or surface) of your body re- 
sponds to these vibrations, and you see or hear by it 
alone. Consequently, what has happened is this : the 
elemental has, by this arrangement of the matter of 
your body, shut you up, as it were, in a box of astral 
matter, which enables you to see and hear things of the 
lowest and coarsest plane only. If you object to being 
shut up in this way, it endeavours to make you be- 
lieve that unless you do thus firmly root yourself into 


the lower matter you will float off, and lose yourself 
in a nebulous vagueness. 

But if, on the other hand, you were to set your will 
to oppose it, then at once there would be a difference. 
The particles of the astral body would be kept all inter- 
mingled, as in life; and you would, in consequence, be 
free of all the sub-planes. 

The final struggle with it takes place at the conclu- 
sion of the astral life, for then the ego endeavours to 
draw back into himself all that he put down into in- 
carnation at the beginning of the life which has just 
closed — to recover as it were the principal which he 
has invested, plus the interest of the experience which 
has been gained and the qualities which have been de- 
veloped during that life. But when he attempts to 
do this he is met with determined opposition from this 
desire-elemental, which he himself has created and 

Though it can hardly be described as intelligent, it 
has a strong instinct of self-preservation, which leads 
it to resist with all the force at its command the ex- 
tinction which threatens it. In the case of all ordinary 
mortals it attains a certain measure of success in its 
efforts, for much of the mental faculty has during life 
been governed by the lower desires and prostituted to 
their service, or in other words the lower mind has 
been so seriously entangled by desire that it is impos- 
sible for it to be entirely freed. The result of the strug- 
gle is therefore that some portion of the mental matter 
and even of causal matter is retained in the astral body 
after the ego has completely broken away from it. 
When a man has during life completely conquered his 
lower desires and succeeded in absolutely freeing the 
lower mind from desire, there is practically no strug- 
gle, and the ego reclaims in full both principal and 


interest; but there is unfortunately an opposite ex- 
treme when he is able to reclaim neither. 

So our business, both during life and after death, 
is to control this desire-elemental, and not let it con- 
trol us. Realize that you are a god in the making. All 
the power and force of the universe are on your side. 
The result is certain. Range yourself on the side of 
the Law, and all will be simplified. 

Absolute control of passions is eminently desirable, 
but is obtained by few. You have to keep your temper 
on the astral plane. You see many dreadful things, 
and if you have not all feelings thoroughly under con- 
trol you may easily do something for which you will 
be sorry. Down here people often commit casual bru- 
tality and think nothing of it; a callous schoolmaster, 
for example, beats a child without realizing his wick- 
edness; but on the astral plane the heinousness of 
such a crime is at once obvious, and even the awful 
horrors of the karma which it entails may often be 
seen. On the astral you see the full effects of even an 
unkind word. Tremendous and violent passions may 
often attract low kinds of beings, who enter into the 
thought-forms and enjoy the vibrations. Such ani- 
mated thought-forms may last for years, and even pro- 
duce poltergeist phenomena. 

Lost Souls 

It is an unspeakable relief to be set free by the com- 
monsense of Theosophical teaching from the awful 
nightmare of the doctrine of eternal damnation which 
is still held by the more ignorant among the Christians, 
who do not understand the real meaning of certain 
phrases attributed in their gospels to their Founder. 


But some of our students, filled with glad enthusiasm 
by the glorious discovery that every unit must finally 
attain perfection, find their joy somewhat damped by 
gruesome hints that, after all, there are conditions un- 
der which a soul may be lost, and they begin to wonder 
whether the reign of divine law is really universal, or 
whether there is not some method by which man can 
contrive to escape from the dominion of the Logos and 
destroy himself. Let such doubters take comfort ; the 
Will of the Logos is infinitely stronger than any hu- 
man will, and not even the utmost exertion of perverse 
ingenuity can possibly prevail against Him. 

It is true that He allows man to use his free-will, 
but only within certain well-defined limits ; if the man 
uses that will well, those limits are quickly widened, 
and more and more power over his own destiny is given 
to him; but if he uses that will for evil, he thereby 
increases his limitations, so that while his power for 
good is practically unbounded, because it has in it the 
potentiality of infinite growth, his power for evil is 
rigidly restricted. And this not because of any in- 
equality in the incidence of the law, but because in the 
one case he exerts his will in the same direction as that 
of the Logos, and so is swimming with the evolutionary 
tide, while in the other he is struggling against it. 

The term "lost souls" is not well chosen, for it is al- 
most certain to be misunderstood, and taken to imply 
much more than it really means. In every-day par- 
lance, the word "soul" is used with exasperating vague- 
ness, but on the whole it is generally supposed to de- 
note the subtler and more permanent part of man, so 
that to the man in the street to lose one's soul means 
to lose oneself, to be lost altogether. That is precisely 
what can never happen; therefore the expression is 
misleading, and a clear statement of the facts which 


it somewhat inaccurately labels may be of use to stu- 
dents. Of such facts there seem to be three classes; 
let us consider them one by one. 

1. Those who will drop out of this evolution in the 
middle of the fifth round. This dropping out is pre- 
cisely the aeonian (not eternal) condemnation of which 
the Christ spoke as a very real danger for some of His 
unawakened hearers — the condemnation meaning 
merely the decision that they are incapable as yet of 
the higher progress, but not implying blame except in 
cases where opportunities have been neglected. Theos- 
ophy teaches us that men are all brothers, but not 
that they are all equal. There are immense differences 
between them ; they have entered the human evolution 
at various periods, so that some are much older souls 
than others, and they stand at very different levels on 
the ladder of development. The older souls naturally 
learn much more rapidly than the younger, and so the 
distance between them steadily increases, and event- 
ually a point is reached where the conditions necessary 
for the one type are entirely unsuitable for the other. 

We may obtain a useful working analogy by thinking 
of the children in a class at school. The teacher of the 
class has a year's work before him, to prepare his boys 
for a certain examination. He parcels out the work — « 
so much for the first month, so much for the second, 
and so on, beginning of course with what is easiest and 
leading gradually up to what is more difficult. But the 
boys are of various ages and capacities; some learn 
rapidly and are in advance of the average, while some 
lag behind. New boys, too, are constantly coming into 
his class, some of them barely up to its level. When 
half the year has run its course, he resolutely closes the 
the list for admissions, and declines to receive any 
more new boys. 


That took place for us at the middle point of this 
fourth round, after which the door was shut for pas- 
sage from the animal kingdom into the human, save for 
a few exceptional cases, which belong, as it were, to 
the future ; just as you have a few men attaining adept- 
ship, who are not belated remnants of the moon's 
adepts, but people in advance of the rest of humanity. 
In the same way there are a few animals at the stage 
of individualization, which the generality are expected 
to reach at the end of the seventh round. On the next 
planet an arrangement will be made by which these 
exceptions will have the opportunity of taking primitive 
human bodies. 

A little later the teacher can already clearly foresee 
that some of his boys will certainly pass the examina- 
tion, that the chance of others is doubtful, and that 
there are yet others who are sure to fail. It would be 
quite reasonable if he should say to these last : 

"We have now reached a stage when the further 
work of this class is useless for you. You cannot pos- 
sibly by any effort attain the necessary standard in time 
for the examination ; the more advanced teaching which 
must now be given to the others would be entirely un- 
suited for you, and as you could not understand it you 
would be not only wasting your own time but would 
be a hindrance to the rest of the class. It will there- 
fore be better for you at once to transfer yourselves 
to the next class below this, perfect yourselves there 
in the preliminary lessons which you have not yet 
thoroughly learned, and come back to this level with 
next year's class, when you will be sure to pass with 

That is exactly what will be done in the middle of 
the fifth round. Those who cannot by any effort reach 
the prescribed goal in the time which remains will be 


put back into a lower class, and if the class-room doors 
are not yet open they will wait in peace and happiness 
until the appointed time. They may be described as lost 
to us, lost to this particular little wave of evolution to 
which we belong ; they are no longer "men of our year" 
as we say at College. But they will very certainly be 
"men of the next year" — even leading men in it, be- 
cause of the work that they have already done and the 
experience that they have already had. 

Most of these people fail because they are too young 
for the class, although they were too old to be put in 
the first place into the class below. They have had the 
advantage of going through the first half of the year's 
work, and they will therefore take it up again next time 
readily and easily, and will be able to help their more 
backward fellow-pupils who have not had their ad- 
vantages. For those who are too young for the work 
there is no blame in failure. 

But there is another large class who might succeed 
by determined effort, but fail for want of that effort. 
These exactly correspond to the boy who drops behind 
his class not because he is too young, but because he 
is too lazy to do his work. His fate is the same as that 
of the others, but it is obvious that while they were 
blameless because they did their best, he is blame- 
worthy precisely because he did not do his ; so he will 
carry with him a legacy of evil karma from which they 
are free. It is to men of that class that the Christ's 
exhortations were addressed — men who had the oppor- 
tunity and ability to succeed, but were not making the 
necessary effort. 

It is of these that Madame Blavatsky speaks in such 
vigorous terms as "useless drones who refuse to be- 
come co-workers with Nature, and who perish by mil- 
lions during the manvantaric life-cycle." {Secret Doc- 


trine, iii, 526.) But note that this "perishing" is mere- 
ly from this "manvantaric life-cycle," and that it means 
for them delay only, and not total extinction. Delay is 
the worst that can happen to people in the ordinary 
course of evolution. Such a delay is undoubtedly most 
serious, but, bad though it be, it is the best that can be 
done under the circumstances. If either through youth, 
or through laziness and perversity, these people have 
failed, it is clear that they need more training, and this 
training they must have. Obviously that is best for 
them, even though it means many lives — lives, many of 
which may be dreary, and may even contain much suf- 
fering. Still, they must go through to the end, because 
that is the only way by which they can attain the level 
which the more advanced races have already reached 
through similar long-continued evolution. 

It was with the object of saving as many people as 
possible from that additional suffering that the Christ 
said to His disciples : "Go ye into all the world and 
preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth 
and is baptised shall be saved, but he that believeth not 
shall be damned." For baptism and its corresponding 
rites in other religions are the sign of the dedication of 
the life to the service of the Brotherhood, and the man 
who is able to grasp the truth, and consequently sets 
his face in the right direction, will certainly be among 
the "saved" or "safe," who escape the condemnation in 
the fifth round ; while those who do not take the trouble 
to see the truth and follow it will assuredly fall under 
that condemnation. But remember always that the 
"damnation" means only rejection from this "aeon" or 
chain of worlds, a throwing back into the next of the 
successive life-waves. "Lost souls," if you will; lost 
to us, perhaps, but not to the Logos ; so they would be 
better described as temporarily laid aside. Of course it 


must not be supposed that the "belief" which saves 
them is the knowledge of Theosophy ; it does not matter 
in the least what their religion is, so long as they are 
aiming at the spiritual life, so long as they have def- 
initely ranged themselves on the side of good as against 
evil, and are working unselfishly onward and upward. 

2. Cases in which the personality has been so much 
emphasized that the ego is almost shut out from it. Of 
these there are two varieties — those who live only in 
their passions, and those who live only in their minds ; 
and as both types are by no means uncommon it is 
worth while to try to understand exactly what happens 
to them. 

We often speak of the ego as putting himself down 
into the matter of the lower planes, yet many students 
fail to realize that this is not a mere figure of speech, 
but has a very definite and very material side to it. The 
ego dwells in a causal body, and when he takes upon 
himself in addition a mental and an astral body, the 
operation involves the actual entangling of a portion of 
the matter of his causal body with matter of those lower 
astral and mental types. We may regard this "putting 
down" as a kind of investment made by the ego. As in 
all investments, so in this ; he hopes to get back more 
than he puts out, but there is a risk of disappointment 
— a possibility that he may lose something of what he 
invests, or under very exceptional circumstances there 
may even be a total loss which leaves him, not indeed 
absolutely bankrupt, but without available capital. 

Let us consider the elaboration of this analogy. The 
ego possesses in his causal body matter of three levels — 
the first, second and third sub-planes of the mental ; 
but for the enormous majority of mankind there is as 
yet no activity beyond the lowest of these three types, 
and even that is usually very partial. It is therefore 


only some of this lowest type of causal matter that can 
be put down to lower levels, and only a small fraction 
even of that part can be entangled with mental and 
astral matter. 

The ego's control over what is put down is very weak 
and imperfect, because he is still half asleep. But as 
his physical body grows up his astral and mental bodies 
are also developed, and the causal matter entangled 
with them is awakened by the vigorous vibrations 
which reach it through them. This fraction of a frac- 
tion which is fully entangled gives life and vigor and a 
sense of individuality to these vehicles, and they in turn 
react strongly upon it and arouse it to a keen realiza- 
tion of life. This keen realization of life is exactly 
what it needs, the very object for which it is put down ; 
and it is the longing for this keen realization when it 
has it not which is spoken of as trishna (the thirst for 
manifested life, the desire to feel oneself really vividly 
alive), the force which draws the ego down again into 

But just because this small fraction has had these 
experiences, and is therefore so much more awake than 
the rest of the ego, it may often be so far intensified as 
to think itself the whole, and forget for the time its re- 
lation to "its Father which is in heaven." It may tem- 
porarily identify itself with the matter through which 
it should be working, and may resist the influence of 
that other portion which has been put down, but is not 
entangled — that which forms the link with the great 
mass of the ego on his own plane. 

In order to understand this matter fully we must 
think of that portion of the ego which is awakened on 
the third sub-plane of the mental (remembering always 
how small a fraction even that is of the whole) as itself 
divided into three parts : (a) that which remains on 


its own plane ; (b) that which is put down, but remains 
unentangled in lower matter; and (c) that which is 
thoroughly entangled with lower matter and receives 
vibrations from it. These are arranged in a descending 
scale, for just as (a) is a very small part of the real ego, 
so (b) is but a small part of (a), and (c) in turn a 
small part of (b). The second acts as a link between 
the first and third ; we may symbolize (a) as the body, 

(b) as the arm stretched out, and (c) as the hand which 
grasps, or perhaps rather the tips of the fingers which 
are dipped into matter. 

We have here a very delicately balanced arrange- 
ment, which may be affected in various ways. The in- 
tention is that the hand (c) should grasp firmly and 
guide the matter with which it is entangled, being fully 
directed all the time by the body (a) through the arm 
(b). Under favourable circumstances additional 
strength, and even additional matter, may be poured 
from (a) through (6) into (c), so that the control may 
become more and more perfect, (c) may grow in size 
as well as strength, and the more it does so the better, 
so long as the communication through (b) is kept open 
freely and (a) retains control. For the very entangle- 
ment of the causal matter which constitutes (c) awak- 
ens it to a keen activity and an accuracy of response to 
fine shades of vibration which it could gain in no other 
way, and this, when transmitted through (b) to (a), 
means the development of the ego. 

Unfortunately the course of events does not always 
follow the ideal plan of working above indicated. When 
the control of (a) is feeble, it sometimes happens that 

(c) becomes so thoroughly immeshed in lower matter 
that (as I have said) it actually identifies itself with it, 
forgets for the time its high estate, and thinks of itself 
as the whole ego. If the matter be of the lower mental 


plane, we shall then have down here on the physical 
plane a man who is wholly materialistic. He may be 
keenly intellectual perhaps, but not spiritual; he may 
very likely be intolerant of spirituality and quite un- 
able to comprehend or appreciate it. He may probably 
call himself practical, matter-of-fact, unsentimental, 
while in reality he is hard as the nether millstone, and 
because of that hardness his life is a failure, and he is 
making no progress. 

If the matter in which he is so fatally entangled be 
astral, he will be (on the physical plane) one who 
thinks only of his own gratification, who is absolutely 
ruthless when in pursuit of some object which he 
strongly desires, a man utterly unprincipled and of 
brutal selfishness. Such a man lives in his passions, 
just as the man immeshed in mental matter lives in his 
mind. Cases such as these have been spoken of in our 
literature as "lost souls," though not irretrievably lost. 
Madame Blavatsky says of them : 

"There is, however, still hope for a person who has 
lost his Higher Soul through his vices, while he is yet in 
the body. He may still be redeemed and made to turn 
on his material nature. For either an intense feeling 
of repentance, or one single earnest appeal to the Ego 
that has fled, or best of all, an active effort to amend 
one's ways, may bring the Higher Ego back again. 
The thread of connection is not altogether broken." 
(Secret Doctrine, iii. 527.) 

These are cases in which (c) has asserted itself 
against (b), and pressed it back towards (a) ; the arm 
has become attenuated and almost paralyzed, its 
strength and substance being withdrawn into the body, 
while the hand has set up for itself, and makes on its 
own account jerky and spasmodic movements which are 
not controlled by the brain. If the separation could be- 


come perfect it would correspond to an amputation at 
the wrist, but this very rarely takes place during phys- 
ical existence, though only so much of communication 
remains as is necessary to keep the personality alive. 

As Madame Blavatsky says, such a case is not entire- 
ly hopeless, for even at the last moment fresh life may 
be poured through that paralyzed arm if a sufficiently 
strong effort be made, and thus the ego may be enabled 
to recover some proportion of (c), as he has already 
recovered most of (b). Nevertheless, such a life has 
been wasted, for even if the man just contrives to es- 
cape serious loss, at any rate nothing has been gained, 
and much time has been frittered away. 

It may well be thought incredible that such men as 
I have described could in any case escape serious loss ; 
but, fortunately for our possibilities of progress, the 
laws under which we live are such that to achieve a 
really serious loss is no easy matter. The reason for 
that may perhaps be made clear by the following con- 

All the activities that we call evil, whether they are 
working as selfish thoughts on the mental plane or as 
selfish emotions on the astral plane, invariably show 
themselves as vibrations of the coarser matter of those 
planes, belonging to their lower levels. On the other 
hand, every good and unselfish thought or emotion sets 
in vibration some of the higher types of matter on its 
plane ; and because that finer matter is far more easily 
moved, any given amount of force spent in good thought 
or feeling produces perhaps a hundred times as much 
result as precisely the same amount of force sent out 
into the coarser matter. If this were not so, it is ob- 
vious that the ordinary man could never make any 
progress at all. 

We shall probably do the quite undeveloped man of 


the world no injustice if we assume that ninety per 
cent of his thought and feeling is self-centred, even if 
not actually selfish; if ten per cent of it is spiritual 
and unselfish, he must already be rising somewhat 
above the average. Clearly if these proportions pro- 
duced corresponding results, the vast majority of hu- 
manity would take nine steps backwards for every one 
forwards, and we should have a retrogression so rapid 
that a few incarnations would deposit us in the animal 
kingdom out of which we evolved. Happily for us the 
effect of ten per cent of force directed to good ends 
enormously outweighs that of ninety per cent devoted 
to selfish purposes, and so on the whole such a man 
makes an appreciable advance from life to life. A man 
who has even one per cent of good to show makes a 
slight advance, so it will be readily understood that a 
man whose account balances exactly, so that there is 
neither advance nor retrogression, must have been liv- 
ing a distinctly evil life ; while to obtain an actual de- 
scent in evolution a person must be an unusually con- 
sistent villain. 

Thanks to this beneficent law the world is steadily 
but slowly evolving, even though we see round us all 
the while so much that is undesirable ; and even such 
men as I have described may not after all fall very far. 
What they have lost is rather time and opportunity 
than actual position in evolution ; but to lose time and 
opportunity means always additional suffering. 

To see what they have lost and what they have failed 
to do, let us revert for a moment to the analogy of in- 
vestment. The ego expects to recover that which he 
puts out to interest in lower matter — the block that we 
have called (c) — and he expects it to be improved both 
in quality and quantity. Its quality is better because it 
has become much more awake, and capable of instant 


and accurate response to a far more varied gamut of 
vibrations than before — a capacity which (c) when 
reabsorbed necessarily communicates to (a), though 
of course the store of energy which made such a pow- 
erful wave in (c) creates only a ripple when distributed 
throughout the substance of (a). (It should be noted 
here that although the vehicles, containing as they do 
the grosser as well as the finer types of the matter of 
their respective planes, can respond to and express evil 
thoughts and emotions, and although their excitement 
under such vibrations can produce perturbation in the 
entangled causal matter (c), it is quite impossible for 
that matter (c) to reproduce those vibrations or to 
communicate them to (a) or (b) , simply because mat- 
ter of the three higher mental levels can no more vibrate 
at the rate of the lowest plane than the string of a vio- 
lin tuned to a certain pitch can be made to produce a 
note lower than that pitch.) 

(c) should also be increased in quantity, because the 
causal body, like all other vehicles, is constantly chang- 
ing its matter, and when special exercise is given to a 
certain part of it, that part grows in size and becomes 
stronger, precisely as a physical muscle does when it is 
used. Every earth-life is an opportunity carefully cal- 
culated for such development in quality and quantity 
as is most needed by the ego ; a failure to use that op- 
portunity means the trouble and delay of another simi- 
lar incarnation, its sufferings probably aggravated by 
the additional bad karma incurred. 

Against the increment which the ego has a right to 
expect from each incarnation we must offset a certain 
amount of loss which in the earlier stages is scarcely 
avoidable. In order to be effective the entanglement 
with lower matter must be very intimate, and it is 
found that when that is so, it is scarcely ever possible 


to recover every particle, especially from the connection 
with the astral vehicle. When the time comes for sepa- 
ration from that it is almost always a shade and not a 
mere shell that is left behind on the astral plane ; and 
that very distinction means that something of the cau- 
sal material is lost. Except in the case of an unusu- 
ally bad life, however, this amount should be much 
smaller than that gained by growth, and so there should 
be on the whole a profit on the transaction. With such 
men as I have described — men living entirely in their 
passions or their minds — there would be no gain either 
in quality or quantity, since the vibrations would not 
be such as could be stored in the causal body; and on 
the other hand, as the entanglement had been so strong, 
there would certainly be considerable loss when the 
separation took place. 

We must not allow the analogy of the arm and hand 
to mislead us in thinking of (b) and (c) as permanent 
appanages of the ego. During a life-period they may 
be considered as separate, but at the end of each life- 
period they withdraw into (a), and the result of their 
experience is distributed, as it were, through the whole 
of its substance ; so that when the time comes for the 
ego to put part of himself out into incarnation once 
more, he does not stretch out again the old (b) and 
(c), for they have been absorbed in him and become 
part of him, just as a cupful of water emptied into a 
bucket becomes part of the water in the bucket and 
cannot be separated from it. 

Any coloring matter which was present in the cup 
is distributed (though in paler tint) through the whole 
bucketful of water; and that coloring matter may be 
taken as symbolizing the qualities developed by expe- 
rience. Just as it would be impossible to take out again 
from the bucket exactly the same cupful of water, so 


the ego cannot again put out the same (b) and (c). 
The plan is one to which he was accustomed before he 
became a separate ego at all, for it is identical with 
that pursued by the group-soul, except that the latter 
puts down many tentacles simultaneously, while the 
ego puts forth only one at a time. Therefore the per- 
sonality in each new incarnation is a different one, 
though the ego behind it remains the same. 

3. Cases in which the personality captures the part 
of the ego which is put down, and actually breaks away 
are happily excessively rare, but they have happened, 
and they represent the most appalling catastrophe 
that can occur to the ego concerned. This time (c), 
instead of repelling (b) and driving it gradually back 
into (a), by degrees absorbs (b) and detaches it from 
(a). This can only be accomplished by determined 
persistence in deliberate evil — black magic, in short. 
Reverting to our former analogies, this is equivalent 
to amputation at the shoulder, or to the loss by the ego 
of nearly all his available capital. Fortunately for 
him he cannot lose everything, because (b) and (c) . 
together are only a small proportion of (a) , and behind 
(a) is the great undeveloped portion of the ego on the 
first and second mental sub-planes. Mercifully a man, 
however incredibly foolish or wicked, cannot completely 
wreck himself, for he cannot bring that higher part of 
the causal body into activity until he has reached a level 
at which such evil is unthinkable. 

Now that the central point of our immersion in mat- 
ter is passed, the whole force of the universe is press- 
ing upwards towards unity, and the man who is willing 
to make all his life an intelligent co-operation with na- 
ture gains as part of his reward an ever-increasing 
perception of the reality of this unity. But on the other 
hand it is obvious that men may set themselves in op- 


position to nature and, instead of working unselfishly 
for the good of all, may debase every faculty they pos- 
sess for purely selfish ends ; and of them also, as of the 
others, the old saying is true, "Verily I say unto you, 
they have their reward." They spend their lives in 
striving for separateness, and for a long time they at- 
tain it, and it is said that that sensation of being utter- 
ly alone in space is the most awful fate that can ever 
befall the sons of men. 

This extraordinary development of selfishness is the 
characteristic of the black magician, and it is among 
their ranks only that men can be found who are in dan- 
ger of this terrible fate. Many and loathsome are their 
varieties, but they may all be classed in one or other of 
two great divisions. They both use such occult arts as 
they possess for purely selfish purposes, but these 
purposes differ. 

In the commoner and less formidable type the object 
pursued is the gratification of sensual desire of some 
sort, and naturally the result of a life devoted to noth- 
ing but that is to centre the man's energy in the desire- 
body ; so that if the man who works on these lines has 
succeeded in killing out from himself every unselfish 
or affectionate feeling, every spark of higher impulse, 
naturally nothing is left but a remorseless, ruthless 
monster of lust, who finds himself after death neither 
able nor desirous to rise above the lowest sub-division 
of the astral plane. The whole of such mind as he has 
is absolutely in the grip of desire, and when the strug- 
gle takes place the ego can recover none of it, and finds 
himself seriously weakened in consequence. 

By his carelessness in permitting this he has for the 
time cut himself off from the current of evolution, from 
the mighty wave of the life of the Logos, and so, until 
he can return to incarnation, he stands (what appears 


to him to be) outside that life in the condition of avichi, 
the waveless. Even when he does return to incarna- 
tion it cannot be among those whom he has known be- 
fore, for he has not enough available capital left to 
provide ensoulment for a mind and body at his previous 
level. He must now be content to occupy vehicles of a 
far less evolved type, belonging to some earlier race; 
so that he has thrown himself far back in evolution 
and must climb over again many rungs of the ladder. 

He will probably be born as a savage, but will most 
likely be a chief among them, as he will still have some 
intellect. It has been said that he may even throw him- 
self so far back that he may be unable to find upon the 
world in its present condition any type of human body 
low enough for the manifestation which he now re- 
quires, so that he may even be incapacitated from tak- 
ing any further part in this scheme of evolution, and 
may therefore have to wait in a kind of condition of 
suspended animation for the commencement of an- 

Meanwhile what of the amputated personality? It 
is no longer a permanent evolving entity, but it remains 
full of vigorous and wholly evil life, entirely without 
remorse or responsibility. As the fate before it is dis- 
integration amidst the unpleasant surroundings of 
what is called the "eighth sphere," it naturally tries to 
maintain some sort of existence on the physical plane 
as long as possible. Vampirism of some kind is its sole 
means of prolonging its baneful existence, and when 
that fails it has been known to seize upon any available 
body, driving out the lawful owner. The body chosen 
might very probably be that of a child, both because it 
might be expected to last longer and because an ego 
which had not yet really taken hold could be more easily 
dispossessed. In spite of its frenzied efforts its power 


seems soon to fail, and I believe there is no instance on 
record of its successfully stealing a second body after 
its first theft is worn out. The creature is a demon 
of the most terrible type — a monster for which there is 
no permanent place in the scheme of evolution to which 
we belong. 

Its natural tendency therefore is to drift out of this 
evolution, and to be drawn by the irresistible force of 
law into that astral cesspool which in earlier Theosoph- 
ical writings was called the eighth sphere, because what 
passes into it stands outside the ring of seven worlds, 
and cannot return into their evolution. There, sur- 
rounded by loathsome relics of all of the concentrated 
vileness of the ages that are past, burning ever with de- 
sire, yet without possibility of satisfaction, this mon- 
strosity slowly decays, its mental and causal matter be- 
ing thus at last set free — never indeed to rejoin the ego 
from which it has torn itself, but to be distributed 
among the other matter of the plane to enter gradually 
into fresh combinations, and so put to better uses. It 
is consoling to know that such entities are so rare as to 
be practically unknown, and that they have the power 
to seize only those who have in their nature pronounced 
defects of kindred type. 

But there is another type of the black magician, in 
outward appearance more respectable, yet really even 
more dangerous, because more powerful. This is the 
man who instead of giving himself up altogether to 
sensuality of one kind or another, sets before himself 
the goal of a more refined but not less unscrupulous 
selfishness. His object is the acquisition of an occult 
power higher and wider indeed, but to be used always 
for his own gratification and advancement, to further 
his own ambition or satisfy his own revenge. 

In order to gain this he adopts the most rigid asceti- 


cism as regards mere fleshly desires, and starves out 
the grosser particles of his astral body as perseveringly 
as does the pupil of the Great White Brotherhood. But 
though it is only a less material kind of desire with 
which he will allow his mind to become entangled, the 
centre of his energy is none the less entirely in his per- 
sonality, and when at the end of the astral life the time 
of the separation comes, the ego is able to recover no 
whit of his investment. For the man therefore the re- 
sult is much the same as in the former case, except that 
he will remain in touch with the personality much long- 
er, and will to some extent share its experiences so far 
as it is possible for an ego to share them. 

The fate of that personality, however, is very differ- 
ent. The comparatively tenuous astral integument is 
not strong enough to hold it for any length of time on 
the astral plane, and yet it has entirely lost touch with 
the heaven-world which should have been its habitat. 
For the whole effort of the man's life has been to kill 
out such thoughts as naturally find their result at that 
level. His one endeavour has been to oppose natural 
evolution, to separate himself from the great whole and 
to war against it; and as far as the personality goes 
he has succeeded. It is cut off from the light and life of 
the solar system ; all that is left to it is the sense of ab- 
solute isolation, of being alone in the universe. 

We see therefore that in this rarer case the lost per- 
sonality practically shares the fate of the ego from 
which it is in process of detaching itself. But in the 
case of the ego such an experience is only temporary, 
although it may last for what we should call a very long 
time, and the end of it for him will be reincarnation and 
a fresh opportunity. For the personality however the 
end of it is disintegration — the invariable end of that 
which has cut itself off from its source; but through 


what stages of horror the lost personality passes before 
that is reached, who shall say? Yet be it remembered 
that neither of these states is eternal — that neither of 
them can in any case be reached except by deliberate 
life-long persistence in evil. 

I have heard from our President of yet another even 
more remote possibility, of which I have never myself 
seen an instance. It is stated that, just as (c) may ab- 
sorb (b) and revolt against (a), set up on its own ac- 
count and break away, it is (or at any rate has been in 
the past) just within the limits of practicability that 
the deadly disease of separateness and selfishness may 
infest (a) also, that it too may be absorbed into the 
monstrous growth of evil, and may be torn away from 
the undeveloped portion of the ego, so that the causal 
body itself may be hardened and carried away, instead 
of only the personality. 

If this be so, it constitutes yet a fourth group, and 
would correspond not to an amputation, but to an en- 
tire destruction of the body. Such an ego could not 
reincarnate in the human race ; ego though it be, it will 
fall into the depths of animal life, and would need at 
least a whole chain-period to regain the status which it 
had lost. But this, though theoretically possible, is 
practically scarcely conceivable. Yet it will be noted 
that even then the undeveloped part of the ego remains 
as the vehicle of the monad. 

We learn then that millions of backward egos, un- 
able as yet to bear the strain of the higher evolution, 
will fall out in the middle of the fifth round and come 
along on the crest of the following wave ; that those who 
live selfishly, whether in the intellect or the passions, 
do so at their own proper peril, and at the serious risk 
of much sorrow and loss ; that those who are so fool- 
ish as to dabble in black magic may bring upon them- 


selves horrors before which imagination shrinks ap- 
palled ; but that the term "lost soul" is, after all, a mis- 
nomer, since every man is a spark of the divine fire, 
and therefore can never under any circumstances be 
lost or extinguished. The will of the Logos is man's 
evolution. In our blindness we may for a time resist 
Him, but to Him time is naught, and if we cannot see 
to-day He waits patiently till to-morrow, but always 
in the end His will is done. 

The Focus of Consciousness 

The consciousness in man can only be focussed in one 
vehicle at a time, though he may be simultaneously con- 
scious through the others in a vaguer way. If you will 
hold up a finger in front of your face you will find that 
you can so focus your eyes as to see the finger perfectly. 
At the same time you will see the wall and furniture be- 
hind the finger, but not perfectly, because they are out 
of focus. In a moment you can change the focus of your 
eyes, so that you will see the wall and the furniture 
perfectly ; in that case you will still see the finger, but 
will see it only dimly, because it in turn is now out of 

Precisely in the same way if a man who has developed 
astral and mental consciousness focusses himself in the 
physical brain as in ordinary life, he will see perfectly 
the physical bodies of his friends, and will at the same 
time see their astral and mental bodies, but only some- 
what dimly. In far less than a moment he can change 
that focus so that he will see the astral quite fully and 
perfectly. In that case he will still see the mental and 
physical bodies, but not in full detail. The same thing 


is true of the mental sight and of the sight of higher 

You ask how it is possible for an entity functioning 
on the astral plane to be aware of a physical accident 
or to hear a physical cry. It would not be the physical 
cry that he would hear ; physical sounds assuredly pro- 
duce an effect upon the astral plane, though I do not 
think that we should be quite correct in calling that re- 
sult sound. Any cry which had in it strong feeling or 
emotion would produce a strong effect upon the astral 
plane, and would convey exactly the same idea there as 
here. In the case of an accident the rush of emotion 
caused by the pain or the fright would flame out like a 
great light, and could not fail to attract the attention of 
a seer if he were anywhere near. A case in which this 
very thing occurred is related in Invisible Helpers — a 
case in which a boy fell over a cliff ; and was supported 
and comforted by Cyril until physical help could be 


In each of our vehicles there are certain force-centres 
which in Sanskrit are called chakrams — a word which 
signifies a wheel or revolving disc. These are points of 
connection at which force flows from one vehicle to an- 
other. They may easily be seen in the etheric double, 
where they show themselves as saucer-like depressions 
or vortices in its surface. They are often spoken of as 
corresponding to certain physical organs ; but it must 
be remembered that the etheric force-centre is not in 
the interior of the body, but on the surface of the 
etheric double, which projects a quarter of an inch be- 
yond the outline of the denser matter. 


The centres which are usually employed in occult de- 
velopment are seven, and they are situated in the fol- 
lowing parts of the body: (1) the base of the spine; 
(2) the navel; (3) the spleen; (4) the heart; (5) the 
throat; (6) the space between the eyebrows; and (7) 
the top of the head. There are other force-centres in 
the body besides these, but they are not employed by 
students of the white magic. It may be remembered 
that Madame Blavatsky speaks of three others which 
she calls the lower centres : there are schools which use 
these, but the dangers connected with them are so se- 
rious that we should consider their awakening as the 
greatest of misfortunes. 

These seven are often described as corresponding 
to the seven colors and to the notes of the musical scale ; 
and in the Indian books certain letters of the alphabet 
and certain forms of vitality are mentioned as attached 
to each of them. They are also poetically described as 
resembling flowers, and to each of them a certain num- 
ber of petals is assigned. 

It must be remembered that they are vortices of 
etheric matter, and that they are all in rapid rotation. 
Into each of these open mouths, at right angles to the 
plane of the whirling disc or saucer, rushes a force 
from the astral world (which we will call the primary 
force) — one of the forces of the Logos. That force is 
seven-fold in its nature, and all its forme operate in all 
the centres, though in each of them one of the forms is 
always greatly predominant. 

This inrush of force brings the divine life into the 
physical body, and without it that body could not exist. 
These centres through which the force can enter are 
therefore actually necessary to the existence of the ve- 
hicle, and so are in operation in every one, but they 
may be whirling with very different degrees of activity. 


Their particles may be in comparatively sluggish mo- 
tion, just forming the necessary vortex for the force 
and no more, or they may be glowing and pulsating 
with living light so that an enormously greater amount 
of force passes through them, with the result that va- 
rious additional faculties and possibilities are opened 
to the ego as he functions on that plane. 

Now those forces which rush into the centre from 
without set up at right angles to themselves (that is to 
say, in the surface of the etheric double) secondary 
forces in undulatory circular motion, just as a bar- 
magnet thrust into an induction coil produces a current 
of electricity which flows round the coil at right angles 
to the axis or direction of the magnet. The primary 
force itself having entered the vortex, radiates from it 
again at right angles, but in straight lines, as though 
the centre of the vortex were the hub of a wheel, and 
the radiations of the primary force its spokes. The 
number of these "spokes" differs in the different force- 
centres, and determines the number of "petals" which 
each of them exhibits. 

Each of these secondary forces, which sweep round 
the saucer-like depression, has its own characteristic 
wave-length, just as has light of a certain colour; but 
instead of moving in a straight line as light does, it 
moves along in certain relatively large undulations of 
various sizes, each of which is some multiple of the 
smaller wave-lengths within it, though the exact pro- 
portions have not as yet been calculated. The number 
of undulations is determined by the number of spokes 
in the wheel, and the secondary force weaves itself 
under and over the radiating currents of the primary 
just as basket-work might be woven round the spokes 
of a carriage-wheel. The wave-lengths are infini- 
tesimal, and probably some thousands of them are in- 


eluded within one of the undulations. As the forces 
rush round in the vortex, these undulations of different 
sizes, crossing one another in this basket-work pattern, 
produce an appearance which is not inaptly described 
in the Hindu books as resembling the petals of a flower ; 
or it is still more like certain saucers or shallow vases 
of wavy iridescent glass which I have seen in Venice. 
All of these undulations or petals have that shimmering 
iridescent effect, like mother-of-pearl, yet each of them 
has usually its own predominant color. 

In the ordinary men, in whom these centres are just 
active enough to be channels for sufficient force to keep 
his body alive, these colors glow with a comparatively 
dull light ; but in those in whom the centres have been 
aroused and are in full activity they are of blinding 
brilliancy, and the centres themselves, which have 
gradually grown from a diameter of about two inches 
to the size of an ordinary saucer, are blazing and co- 
ruscating like miniature suns. 

The first centre, at the base of the spine, has a pri- 
mary force which radiates out in four spokes, and there- 
fore arranges its undulations so as to give the effect of 
its being divided into quadrants, with hollows between 
them. This makes it seem as though marked with the 
sign of the cross, and for that reason the cross is often 
used to symbolize this centre, and sometimes a flaming 
cross is taken to indicate the serpent-fire which resides 
in it. When aroused into full activity this centre is 
fiery orange-red in color, corresponding closely with 
the type of vitality which is sent down to it from the 
splenic centre. Indeed, it will be noticed that in the 
case of every one of these centres a similar correspond- 
ence with the color of its vitality may be seen. 

The second centre, at the navel or solar plexus, re- 
ceives a primary force with ten radiations, so it vi- 


brates in such a manner as to divide itself into ten 
undulations or petals. It is very closely associated 
with feelings and emotions of various kinds. Its 
predominant color is a curious blending of various 
shades of red, though there is also a great deal of green 
in it. 

The third centre, at the spleen, is devoted to the spe- 
cialization, subdivision and dispersion of the vitality 
which comes to us from the sun. That vitality is 
poured out again from it in six horizontal streams, the 
seventh variety being drawn into the hub of the wheel. 
This centre therefore has six petals or undulations, and 
is specially radiant, glowing and sun-like. 

The fourth centre, at the heart, is also of a glowing 
golden color, and each of its quadrants is divided into 
three parts, which gives it twelve undulations, because 
its primary force makes for it twelve spokes. 

The fifth centre, at the throat, has sixteen spokes, 
and therefore sixteen apparent divisions. There is a 
good deal of blue in it, but its general effect is silvery 
and gleaming, with a kind of suggestion as of moon- 
light upon rippling water. 

The sixth centre, between the eyebrows, has the ap- 
pearance of being divided into halves, the one pre- 
dominantly rose-colored, though with a great deal of 
yellow about it, and the other predominantly a kind of 
purplish-blue, again closely agreeing with the colors 
of the special types of vitality that vivify it. Perhaps 
it is for this reason that this centre is mentioned in 
Indian books as having only two petals, though if we 
are to count undulations of the same character as those 
of the previous centres we shall find that each half is 
subdivided into forty-eight of these, making ninety- 
six in all, because its primary force has that number of 


The seventh, the centre at the top of the head, is 
when stirred into full activity perhaps the most re- 
splendent of all, full of indescribable chromatic effects 
and vibrating with almost inconceivable rapidity. It 
is described in Indian books as thousand-petalled, and 
really this is not very far from the truth, the number 
of the radiations of its primary force in the outer cir- 
cle being nine hundred and sixty. In addition to this 
it has a feature which is possessed by none of the other 
centres — a sort of subsidiary whirlpool of gleaming 
white flushed with gold in its heart — a minor activity 
which has twelve undulations of its own. 

I have heard it suggested that each of the different 
petals of these force-centres represents a moral qual- 
ity, and that the development of that quality brings 
the centre into activity, I have not yet met with any 
facts which confirm this, nor am I able to see exactly 
how it can be, because the appearance is produced by 
certain quite definite and easily recognizable forces, 
and the petals in any particular centre are either active 
or not active according as these forces have or have not 
been aroused, and their development seems to me to 
have no more connection with morality than has the 
development of the biceps. I have certainly met with 
persons in whom some of the centres were in full activ- 
ity, though the moral development was by no means ex- 
ceptionally high, whereas in other persons of high 
spirituality and the noblest possible morality the cen- 
tres were not yet vitalized at all, so that there does not 
seem to me to be any connection between the two de- 

Besides the keeping alive of the physical vehicle, 
these force-centres have another function, which comes 
into play only when they are awakened into full activ- 
ity. Each of these etheric centres corresponds to an 


astral centre though as the astral centre is a vortex 
in four dimensions it has an extension in a direction 
quite different from the etheric, and consequently is by 
no means always co-terminous with it, though some 
part is always coincident. The etheric vortex is always 
on the surface of the etheric body, but the astral centre 
is frequently quite in the interior of that vehicle. 

The function of each of these etheric centres when 
fully aroused is to bring down into physical conscious- 
ness whatever may be the quality inherent in the astral 
centre which corresponds to it; so, before cataloguing 
the results to be obtained by arousing the etheric cen- 
tres into activity, it may be well to consider what is 
done by each of the astral centres, although these lat- 
ter are already in full activity in all cultured people of 
the later races. What effect, then, has the quickening 
of each of these astral centres produced in the astral 

The first of these centres, that at the base of the 
spine, is the home of that mysterious force called the 
serpent-fire or, in The Voice of the Silence, the World's 
Mother. I will say more about this force later ; for the 
moment let us consider its effects on the astral centres. 
This force exists on all planes, and by its activity the 
rest of the centres are aroused. We must think of the 
astral body as having been originally an almost inert 
mass, with nothing but the vaguest consciousness, with 
no definite power of doing anything, and no clear knowl- 
edge of the world which surrounded it. The first thing 
that happened, then, was the awakening of that force 
in the man at the astral level. When awakened it 
moved on to the second centre, corresponding to the 
navel, and vivified it, thereby awakening in the astral 
body the power of feeling — a sensitiveness to all sorts 
of influences, though without as yet anything like the 


definite comprehension that comes from seeing or hear- 

Then it moved on to the third, that corresponding to 
the physical spleen, and through it vitalized the whole 
astral body, enabling the person to travel consciously, 
though with only a vague conception as yet of what he 
encountered on his journeys. 

The fourth centre, when awakened, endowed the man 
with the power to comprehend and sympathize with the 
vibrations of other astral entities, so that he could in- 
stinctively understand their feelings. 

The awakening of the fifth, that corresponding to 
the throat, gave him the power of hearing on the astral 
plane — that is to say, it caused the development of that 
sense which in the astral world produces on our con- 
sciousness the effect which on the physical plane we 
call hearing. 

The development of the sixth, that corresponding to 
the centre between the eyebrows, in a similar manner 
produced astral sight — the power to perceive definitely 
the shape and nature of astral objects, instead of 
vaguely sensing their presence. 

The arousing of the seventh, that corresponding to 
the top of the head, rounded off and completed for him 
the astral life, and endowed him with the perfection 
of its faculties. 

With regard to this centre a certain difference seems 
to exist according to the type to which men belong. 
For many of us the astral vortices corresponding to 
the sixth and seventh of these centres both converge 
upon the pituitary body, and for those people the pitu- 
itary body is practically the only direct link between the 
physical and the higher planes. Another type of peo- 
ple, however, while still attaching the sixth centre to 
the pituitary body, bend or slant the seventh until its 


vortex coincides with the atrophied organ called the 
pineal gland, which is by people of that type vivified 
and made into a line of communication directly passing 
through the intermediate astral plane in the ordinary 
way. It was for this type that Madame Blavatsky was 
writing when she laid such emphasis upon the awak- 
ening of that organ. 

Thus these centres to some extent take the place of 
sense-organs for the astral body, and yet without 
proper qualification that expression would be decidedly 
a misleading one, for it must never be forgotten that 
though, in order to make ourselves intelligible, we con- 
stantly have to speak of astral seeing or astral hearing, 
all that we really mean by those expressions is the 
faculty of responding to such vibrations as convey to 
the man's consciousness, when he is functioning in his 
astral body, information of the same character as that 
conveyed to him by his eyes and ears while he is in the 
physical body. 

But in the entirely different astral conditions spe- 
cialized organs are not necessary for the attainment of 
this result. There is matter in every part of the astral 
body which is capable of such response, and conse- 
quently the man functioning in that vehicle sees equal- 
ly well the objects behind him, above him, and beneath 
him, without needing to turn his head. The centres, 
therefore, cannot be described as organs in the ordi- 
nary sense of the word, since it is not through them 
that the man sees or hears, as he does here through the 
eyes and ears. Yet it is upon their vjvification that the 
power of exercising these astral senses depends, each 
of them as it is developed giving to the whole astral 
body the power of response to a new set of vibrations. 

As all the particles of the astral body are constantly 
flowing and swirling about like those of boiling water, 


all of them in turn pass through each of the centres or 
vortices, so that each centre in its turn evokes in all 
the particles of the body the power of receptivity to a 
certain set of vibrations, and so all the astral senses 
are equally active in all parts of the body. But even 
when these astral senses are fully awakened it by no 
means follows that the man will be able to bring 
through his physical body any consciousness of their 

While all this astral awakening was taking place, 
then, the man in his physical consciousness knew noth- 
ing whatever of it. The only way in which the dense 
body can be brought to share all these advantages is by 
repeating that process of awakening with the etheric 
centres. That is to be achieved precisely in the same 
way as it was done upon the astral plane — that is to 
say, by the arousing of the serpent-fire, which exists 
clothed in etheric matter on the physical plane, and 
sleeps in the corresponding etheric centre, that at the 
base of the spine. 

In this case the arousing is done by a determined and 
long-continued effort of the will, and to bring that first 
centre into full activity is precisely to awaken the ser- 
pent-fire. When once that is aroused, it is by its tre- 
mendous force that the other centres are vivified. Its 
effect on the other etheric centres is to bring into the 
physical consciousness the powers which were aroused 
by the development of their corresponding astral cen- 

When the second of the etheric centres, that at the 
navel, comes into activity the man begins in the physical 
body to be conscious of all kinds of astral influences, 
vaguely feeling that some of them are friendly and 
others hostile, or that some places are pleasant and 
others unpleasant, without in the least knowing why. 


When the third centre, that at the spleen, is awak- 
ened, the man is enabled to remember his vague astral 
journeys, though sometimes only very partially. The 
effect of a slight and accidental stimulation of this cen- 
tre is often to produce half-remembrance of a blissful 
sensation of flying through the air. 

Stimulation of the fourth, that at the heart, makes 
the man instinctively aware of the joys and sorrows 
of others, and sometimes even causes him to reproduce 
in himself by sympathy their physical aches and pains. 

The arousing of the fifth, that at the throat, enables 
him to hear voices, which sometimes make all kinds of 
suggestions to him. Also sometimes he hears music, 
or other less pleasant sounds. When it is fully working 
it makes the man clair-audient as far as the etheric and 
astral planes are concerned. 

When the sixth, between the eye-brows, becomes 
vivified, the man begins to see things, to have various 
sorts of waking visions, sometimes of places, some- 
times of people. In its earlier development, when it is 
only just beginning to be awakened, it often means 
nothing more than half-seeing landscapes and clouds 
of color. The full arousing of this brings about clair- 

The centre between the eye-brows is connected with 
sight in yet another way. It is through it that the pow- 
er of magnification of minute physical objects is exer- 
cised. A tiny flexible tube of etheric matter is pro- 
jected from the centre of it, resembling a miscroscopic 
snake with an eye at the end of it. This is the special 
organ used in that form of clairvoyance, and the eye 
at the end of it can be expanded or contracted, the ef- 
fect being to change the power of magnification accord- 
ing to the size of the object which is being examined. 
This is what is meant in ancient books when mention is 


made of the capacity to make oneself large or small at 
will. To examine an atom one developes an organ 
of vision commensurate in size with the atom. This 
little snake projecting from the centre of the forehead 
was symbolized upon the head-dress of the Pharaoh of 
Egypt, who as the chief priest of his country was sup- 
posed to possess this among many other occult powers. 

When the seventh centre is awakened the man is able 
by passing through it to leave his body in full conscious- 
ness, and also to return to it without the usual break, 
so that his consciousness will be continuous through 
night and day. When the fire has been passed through 
all these centres in a certain order (which varies for 
different types of people) the consciousness becomes 
continuous up to the entry into the heaven-world at 
the end of the life on the astral plane, no difference be- 
ing made by either the temporary separation from the 
physical body during sleep or the permanent division 
at death. 

Before this is done, however, the man may have 
many glimpses of the astral world, for especially strong 
vibrations may at any time galvanize one or other of 
the centres into temporary activity, without arousing 
the serpent-fire at all; or it may happen that the fire 
may be partially roused, and in this way also partial 
clairvoyance may be produced for the time. For this 
fire exists in seven layers or seven degrees of force, 
and it often happens that a man who exerts his will 
in the effort to arouse it may succeed in affecting one 
layer only, and so when he thinks that he has done the 
work he may find it ineffective, and may have to do it 
all over again many times, digging gradually deeper 
and deeper, until not only the surface is stirred but the 
very heart of the fire is in full activity. 


The Serpent-Fire 

As we know it, this serpent-fire (called in Sanskrit 
kundalini) is the manifestation on the physical plane 
of one of the great world-forces — one of the powers of 
the LOGOS. You know that what we call electricity is 
a manifestation of one of His forces, and that that 
force may take various forms, such as heat, light and 
motion. Another of His forces is vitality — what is 
sometimes called prana, but this is not interchangeable 
with any of those other forms which we have just men- 
tioned. We may say then that vitality and electricity 
are as it were the lower ends of two of His streams 
of force. 

This serpent-fire may be taken as the lower end of 
another of His streams, the physical-plane manifesta- 
tion of another of the manifold aspects of His power. 
Like vitality, it exists on all planes of which we know 
anything; but it is the expression of it in etheric mat- 
ter with which we have to do. It is not convertible 
into either vitality or electricity, and does not seem to 
be affected in any way by either. I have seen as much 
as a million and a quarter volts of electricity put into 
a human body, so that when the man held out his arm 
towards the wall huge flames rushed out from his fin- 
gers, yet he felt nothing unusual, nor was he in the 
least burnt unless he accidentally touched some ex- 
ternal object ; but even this enormous display of power 
had no effect whatever upon the serpent-fire. 

In The Voice of the Silence this force is called "the 
Fiery Power" and "the World's Mother." There is 
much reason for all these strange names, for it is in 
very truth like liquid fire as it rushes through the body, 
and the course through which it ought to move is a 
spiral one like the coils of a serpent. It is called the 


World's Mother because through it our various vehicles 
may be vivified, so that the higher worlds may open 
before us in succession. 

In the body of man its home, as we have said, is at 
the base of the spine, and for the ordinary person it 
lies there unawakened, and its very presence unsus- 
pected, during the whole of his life ; and it is indeed far 
better to allow it thus to remain dormant until the man 
has made definite moral development, until his will is 
strong enough to control it and his thoughts pure 
enough to enable him to face its awakening without 
injury. No one should experiment with it without def- 
inite instruction from a teacher who thoroughly under- 
stands the subject, for the dangers connected with it 
are very real and terribly serious. Some of them are 
purely physical. Its uncontrolled movement often pro- 
duces intense physical pain, and it may readily tear tis- 
sues and even destroy physical life. This, however, 
is the least of the evils of which it is capable, for it 
may do permanent injury to vehicles higher than the 

One very common effect of rousing it prematurely 
is that it rushes downwards in the body instead of up- 
wards, and thus excites the most undesirable passions 
— excites them and intensifies their effects to such a 
degree that it becomes absolutely impossible for the 
man to resist them, because a force has been brought 
into play in whose presence he is as helpless as a swim- 
mer before the jaws of a shark. Such men become 
satyrs, monsters of depravity, because they are in the 
grasp of a force which is out of all proportion to the 
ordinary human power of resistance. They may prob- 
ably gain certain supernormal powers, but these will 
be such as will bring them into touch with a lower 
order of evolution with which humanity is intended to 


hold no commerce, and to escape from its awful thral- 
dom may take them more than one incarnation. I am 
not in any way exaggerating the horror of this thing, 
as a person to whom it was all a matter of hearsay 
might unwittingly do. I have myself been consulted 
by people upon whom this awful fate has already come, 
and I have seen with my own eyes what happened to 
them. There is a school of black magic which pur- 
posely uses this power in this way, in order that 
through it may be vivified those lower force-centres 
which are never used by the followers of the Good 

Even apart from this greatest of its dangers, its 
premature unfoldment has many other unpleasant pos- 
sibilities. It intensifies everything in man's nature, 
and it reaches the lower and evil qualities more readily 
than the good. In the mental body, for example, ambi- 
tion is very readily aroused, and soon swells to an in- 
credibly inordinate degree. It would be likely to bring 
with it a great intensification of the power of intellect, 
but at the same time it would produce abnormal and 
satanic pride, such as is quite inconceivable to the ordi- 
nary man. It is not wise for a man to think that he is 
prepared to cope with any force that may arise within 
his body ; this is no ordinary force, but something re- 
sistless. Assuredly no uninstructed man should ever 
try to awaken it, and if such a one finds that it has 
been aroused by accident he should at once consult 
some one who fully understands these matters. 

It may be noticed that I have specially and inten- 
tionally refrained from explaining how this arousing 
is to be done, or mentioning the order in which the 
force (when aroused) should be passed through these 
various centres, for that should by no means be at- 
tempted except at the express suggestion of a Master, 


who will watch over His pupil during the various 
stages of the experiment. 

I most solemnly warn all students against making 
any effort whatever in the direction of awakening 
these tremendous forces, except under such qualified 
tuition, for I have myself seen many cases of the terri- 
ble effects which follow from ignorant and ill-advised 
meddling with these very serious matters. The force 
is a tremendous reality, one of the great basic facts 
of nature, and most emphatically it is not a thing to be 
played with, or to be lightly taken in hand, for to ex- 
periment with it without understanding it is far more 
dangerous than it would be for a child to play with 
nitroglycerine. As is very truly said in the Hathayo- 
gapradipika : "It gives liberation to yogis and bondage 
to fools." (iii. 107.) 

In matters such as these, students so often seem to 
think that some special exception to the laws of nature 
will be made in their case, that some special interven- 
tion of providence will save them from the conse- 
quences of their folly. Assuredly nothing of that sort 
will happen, and the man who wantonly provokes an 
explosion is quite likely to become its first victim. It 
would save much trouble and disappointment if stu- 
dents could be induced to understand that in all mat- 
ters connected with occultism we mean just exactly 
and literally what we say, and that it is applicable in 
every case without exception. For there is no such 
thing as favoritism in the working of the great laws of 
the universe. 

Everybody wants to try all possible experiments; 
everybody is convinced that he is quite ready for the 
highest possible teaching and for any sort of develop- 
ment, and no one is willing to work patiently along at 
the improvement of character, and to devote his time 


and his energies to doing something useful for 
the work of the Society, waiting for all these 
other things until a Master shall announce that he 
is ready for them. The old aphorism still remains 
true : "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His 
righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto 

There are some cases in which the fire wakes spon- 
taneously, so that a dull glow is felt ; it may even begin 
to move of itself, though this is rare. In this latter case 
it would be likely to cause great pain, as, since the pas- 
sages are not prepared for it, it would have to clear its 
way by actually burning up a great deal of etheric 
dross — a process that cannot but engender suffering. 
When it thus awakes of itself or is accidentally aroused, 
it usually tries to rush up the interior of the spine, 
instead of following the spiral course into which the 
occultist is trained to guide it. If it be possible, the 
will should be set in motion to arrest its onward rush, 
but if that proves to be impossible (as is most likely) 
no alarm need be felt. It will probably rush out 
through the head and escape into the surrounding at- 
mosphere, and it is likely that no harm will result be- 
yond a slight weakening. Nothing worse than a tem- 
porary loss of consciousness need be apprehended. 
The really appalling dangers are connected not with 
its upward rush, but with the possibility of its turning 
downwards and inwards. 

Its principal function in connection with occult de- 
velopment is that by being sent through the force- 
centres in the etheric body, as above described, it vivi- 
fies these centres and makes them available as gates of 
connection between the physical and astral bodies. It 
is said in The Voice of the Silence that when the ser- 
pent-fire reaches the centre between the eye-brows and 


fully vivifies it, it confers the power of hearing the 
voice of the Master — which means in this case the 
voice of the ego or higher self. The reason for this 
statement is that when the pituitary body is brought 
into working order it forms a perfect link with the 
astral vehicle, so that through it all communications 
from within can be received. 

It is not only this one; all the higher force-centres 
have presently to be awakened, and each must be made 
responsive to all kinds of astral influences from the 
various astral sub-planes. This development will come 
to all in due course, but most people cannot gain it dur- 
ing the present incarnation, if it is the first in which 
they have begun to take these matters seriously in 
hand. Some Indians might succeed in doing so, as 
their bodies are by heredity more adaptable than most 
others; but it is really for the majority the work of a 
later round altogether. The conquest of the serpent- 
fire has to be repeated in each incarnation, since the 
vehicles are new each time, but after it has been once 
thoroughly achieved these repetitions will be an easy 
matter. It must be remembered that its action varies 
with different types of people; some, for example, 
would see the higher self rather than hear its voice. 
Again, this connection with the higher has many 
stages ; for the personality it means the influence of the 
ego, but for the ego himself it means the power of the 
monad, and for the monad in turn it means to become 
a conscious expression of the Logos. 

It may be of use if I mention my own experience 
in this matter. In the earlier part of my residence in 
India twenty-five years ago I made no effort to rouse 
the fire — not indeed knowing very much about it, and 
having the opinion that, in order to do anything with 
it, it was necessary to be born with a specially psychic 


body, which I did not possess. But one day one of the 
Masters made a suggestion to me with regard to a cer- 
tain kind of meditation which would evoke this force. 
Naturally I at once put the suggestion into practice, 
and in course of time was successful. I have no doubt, 
however, that He watched the experiment, and would 
have checked me if it had become dangerous. I am told 
that there are Indian ascetics who teach this to their 
pupils, of course keeping them under careful supervi- 
sion during the process. But I do not myself know of 
any such, nor should I have confidence in them unless 
they were specially recommended by some one whom I 
knew to be possessed of real knowledge. 

People often ask me what I advise them to do with 
regard to the arousing of this force. I advise them to 
do exactly what I myself did. I recommend them to 
throw themselves into Theosophical work and wait 
until they receive a definite command from some Mas- 
ter who will undertake to superintend their psychic 
development, continuing in the meantime all the ordi- 
nary exercises of meditation that are known to them. 
They should not care in the least whether such develop- 
ment comes in this incarnation or in the next, but 
should regard the matter from the point of view of the 
ego and not of the personality, feeling absolutely cer- 
tain that the Masters are always watching for those 
whom They can help, that it is entirely impossible for 
any one to be overlooked, and that They will unques- 
tionably give Their directions when They think that 
the right time has come. 

I have never heard that there is any sort of age limit 
with regard to the development, and I do not see that 
age should make any difference, so long as one has per- 
fect health; but the health is a necessity, for only a 
strong body can endure the strain, which is much more 


serious than any one who has not made the attempt 
can possibly imagine. 

The force when aroused must be very strictly con- 
trolled, and it must be moved through the centres in an 
order which differs for people of different types. The 
movement also, to be effective, must be made in a par- 
ticular way, which the Master will explain when the 
time comes. 

I have said that the astral and etheric centres are in 
very close correspondence; but between them, and in- 
terpenetrating them in a manner not readily describ- 
able, is a sheath composed of a single layer of physical 
atoms much compressed and permeated by a special 
form of vital force. The divine life which normally 
descends from the astral body to the physical is so 
attuned as to pass through this with perfect ease, but 
it is an absolute barrier to all other forces — all which 
cannot use the atomic matter of both the planes. This 
web is the natural protection provided by nature to 
prevent a premature opening up of communication be- 
tween the planes — a development which could lead to 
nothing but injury. 

It is this which under normal conditions prevents 
clear recollection of what has happened during sleep, 
and it is this also which causes the momentary uncon- 
sciousness which always occurs at death. But for this 
merciful provision the ordinary man, who knows noth- 
ing about all these things and is entirely unprepared 
to meet them, could at any moment be brought by any 
astral entity under the influences of forces to cope with 
which would be entirely beyond his strength. He would 
be liable to constant obsession by any being on the 
astral plane who desired to seize upon his vehicles. 

It will therefore be readily understood that any in- 
jury to this web is a serious disaster. There are sev- 


eral ways in which injury may come, and it behooves us 
to use our best endeavors to guard against it. It may 
come either by accident or by continued malpractice. 
Any great shock to the astral body, such for example 
as a sudden terrible fright, may rend apart this deli- 
cate organism and, as it is commonly expressed, drive 
the man mad. (Of course there are other ways in 
which fear may cause insanity, but this is one.) A 
tremendous outburst of anger may also produce the 
same effect. Indeed it may follow upon any exceed- 
ingly strong emotion of an evil character which pro- 
duces a kind of explosion in the astral body. 

The malpractices which may more gradually injure 
this protective web are of two classes — the use of alco- 
hol or narcotic drugs and the deliberate endeavor to 
throw open the doors which nature has kept closed, by 
means of such a process as is described in spiritualistic 
parlance as sitting for development. Certain drugs 
and drinks — notably alcohol and all the narcotics, in- 
cluding tobacco — contain matter which on breaking up 
volatilizes, and some of it passes from the physical 
plane to the astral. (Even tea and coffee contain this 
matter, but in quantities so infinitesimal that it is 
usually only after long-continued abuse of them that 
the effect manifests itself.) 

When this takes place in the body of man these con- 
stituents rush out through the force-centres in the op- 
posite direction to that for which they are intended, 
and in doing this repeatedly they seriously injure and 
finally destroy the delicate web. This deterioration or 
destruction may be brought about in two different 
ways, according to the type of the person concerned 
and to the proportion of the constituents in his etheric 
and astral bodies. First, the rush of volatilizing matter 
actually burns away the web, and therefore leaves the 


door open to all sorts of irregular forces and evil in- 

The second result is that these volatile constituents, 
in flowing through, somehow harden the atom so that 
its pulsation is to a large extent checked and crippled, 
and it is no longer capable of being vitalized by the 
particular type of force which welds it into a web. The 
result of this is a kind of ossification of the web, so 
that instead of having too much coming through from 
one plane to the other, we have very little of any kind 
coming through. 

We may see the effects of both these types of dete- 
rioration in the case of men who yield themselves to 
drunkenness. Some of those who are affected in the 
former way fall into delirium tremens, obsession or 
insanity; but those are after all comparatively rare. 
Far more common is the second type of deterioration 
— the case in which we have a kind of general deaden- 
ing down of the man's qualities, resulting in gross ma- 
terialism, brutality and animalism, in the loss of all 
finer feelings and of the power to control himself. He 
no longer feels any sense of responsibility; he may 
love his wife and children when sober, but when the 
fit of drunkenness comes upon him he will use the 
money which should have bought bread for them to 
satisfy his own bestial cravings, the affection and 
the responsibility having apparently entirely dis- 

The second type of effect is very commonly to be 
seen among those who are slaves of the tobacco habit ; 
again and again we find that they persist in their self- 
indulgence even when they know perfectly well that 
it causes nausea and misery to their neighbors. We 
shall recognize the deterioration at once when we think 
that this is the only practice in which a gentleman will 


persist when he is aware that it causes acute annoy- 
ance to others. Clearly in this case the finer feelings 
have already been seriously blunted. 

All impressions which pass from one plane to the 
other are intended to come only through the atomic 
sub-planes, as I have said ; but when this deadening 
process sets in, it presently infects not only other 
atomic matter, but matter of even the second and third 
sub-planes, so that the only communication between 
the astral and the etheric is when some force acting on 
the lower sub-planes (upon which only unpleasant and 
evil influences are to be found) happens to be strong 
enough to compel a response by the violence of its vi- 

Nevertheless, though nature takes such precautions 
to guard these centres, she by no means intends that 
they shall always be kept rigidly closed. There is a 
proper way in which they may be opened. Perhaps 
it would be more correct to say that the intention is 
not that the doors should be opened any wider than 
their present position, but that the man should so de- 
velop himself as that he can bring a great deal more 
through the recognized channel. 

The consciousness of the ordinary man cannot yet 
use pure atomic matter either in the physical body or 
in the astral, and therefore there is normally no possi- 
bility for him of conscious communication at will be- 
tween the two planes. The proper way to obtain that 
is to purify both the vehicles until the atomic matter 
in both is fully vivified, so that all communications be- 
tween the two may be able to pass by that road. In 
that case the web retains to the fullest degree its posi- 
tion and activity, and yet is no longer a barrier to the 
perfect communication, while it still continues to ful- 
fill its purpose of preventing the close contact between 


lower sub-planes which would permit all sorts of unde- 
sirable influences to pass through. 

That is why we are always adjured to wait for the 
unfolding of psychic powers until they come in the 
natural course of events as a consequence of the devel- 
opment of character, as we see from the study of these 
force-centres that they surely will. That is the natural 
evolution ; that is the only really safe way, for by it the 
student obtains all the benefits and avoids all the dan- 
gers. That is the Path which our Masters have trod- 
den in the past ; that therefore is the Path for us to-day. 

Obsession and Insanity 

We must distinguish carefully between obsession 
and insanity. The latter is a break in the connection 
between the ego and his vehicles, while the former is 
the ousting of the ego by some other entity. Only a 
weak ego would permit obsession — an ego, I mean, who 
had not much hold upon his vehicles. It is not as a rule 
true that children are more easily obsessed than adults, 
because though it is true that the hold of the ego upon 
its bodies is less strong in childhood, it is also true that 
the adult is far more likely to have in him qualities 
which attract undesirable entities and make obsession 
easy. In the case of a little child, any entity trying to 
obsess the body would have first to face the elemental 
who is in charge of the building of it, and he is not 
at all likely to succeed in ousting that. After the age 
of seven, when the elemental has been withdrawn, 
obsession might take place if the ego was very weak; 
but it is fortunately rare. 

Obsession may be permanent or temporary, and it 


is undertaken for various reasons. Often some dead 
person is filled with burning anxiety to come again into 
touch with the physical plane, generally for the satis- 
faction of the lowest and grossest desires, and in his 
desperate yearning he seizes upon any vehicle which he 
can steal. Sometimes, on the other hand, obsession is 
a definite and calculated act of revenge — not always 
upon the person obsessed. I knew a case in which a 
man who hated another deliberately went to work to 
obtain control of and obsess his enemy's favorite 
daughter ; I know also of another instance even worse 
than that. Sometimes the obsessing entity is not hu- 
man at all, but only a nature-spirit who desires expe- 
rience of human life. In any and all cases obsession 
should be determinedly resisted by the victim. 

Insanity is an entirely different matter. Let us try 
to look at it from the occult point of view. Every cell 
in the physical Drain and every particle of its matter 
has its corresponding and interpenetrating astral mat- 
ter; and behind (or rather within) that, it has also the 
still finer mental matter. Of course the brain is a 
cubical mass, bat for the purposes of our examination 
let us suppose that it could be spread out upon a surface 
so that it should be only one particle thick. Then fur- 
ther suppose that the astral and mental matter belong- 
ing to it could also be laid out in layers in a similar 
manner, the astral layer a little above the physical, and 
the mental a little above the astral. 

Then we should have three layers of matter of dif- 
ferent degrees of density, all corresponding one to 
the other. Now suppose that each physical particle is 
joined to the corresponding astral particle by a little 
tube, and each astral particle is joined to its corre- 
sponding mental particle in the same way, and even 
(higher up still) each mental particle to something 


which corresponds to it in the causal body. So long as 
all these tubes were perfectly in alignment there would 
be clear communication between the ego and his brain ; 
but if any one of the sets of tubes were bent, closed, 
or knocked partially aside, it is obvious that the com- 
munication might be wholly or partially interrupted. 

From the occult standpoint, therefore, we divide the 
insane into four great classes, each of course having 
many sub-divisions. 

1. Those who are insane merely from a defect of 
the dense physical brain — from its insufficient size, 
perhaps, or from some accident like a heavy blow, or 
some growth which causes pressure upon it or from 
gradual softening of the tissue. 

2. Those whose defect is in the etheric part of the 
brain, so that its particles no longer correspond per- 
fectly with the denser physical particles, and so cannot 
properly bring through the vibrations from the higher 

3. Those in whom the astral body is defective in- 
stead of the etheric — in whom its tubes are bent, as it 
were, so that there is a want of accurate adjustment 
between its particles and those of the vehicles either 
above or below it. 

4. Those in whom the mind-body itself is in some 
way out of order, and consequently is unable to bring 
through the instructions or wishes of the ego. 

It makes a very great difference to which of these 
classes an insane person belongs. Those of the first 
and second types are quite sensible when out of the 
body during sleep, and of course also after death, so 
that the ego loses only the expression of himself during 
waking life. Those of the third type do not recover 
until they reach the heaven-world, and the fourth class 
not until they return into the causal body; so that for 


this last class the incarnation is a failure. But for- 
tunately more than ninety per cent of the insane belong 
to the first and second classes. 

Three questions are asked upon the unsavory subject 
of obsession ; I will proceed to answer them. The first 
is: "What is the best way to get rid of an excarnate 
human being who persists in occupying one's body?" 

I should simply and absolutely decline to be so ob- 
sessed. The best and kindest plan would be to have 
an explanation with the dead person, to enquire what 
he wants and why he makes such persistent attempts. 
Quite probably, he may be some ignorant soul who does 
not at all comprehend his new surroundings, and is 
striving madly to get into touch again with the only 
kind of life that he understands. In that case if mat- 
ters are explained to him, he may be brought to a hap- 
pier frame of mind and induced to cease his ill-directed 
efforts. Or the poor creature may have something on 
his mind — some duty unfulfilled or some wrong un- 
righted ; if this be so, and the matter can be arranged 
to his satisfaction, he may then be at peace. 

If, however, he proves not to be amenable to reason, 
if in spite of all argument and explanation he refuses 
to abandon his reprehensible line of action, it will be 
necessary gently but firmly to resist him. Every man 
has an inalienable right to the use of his own vehicle, 
and encroachments of this nature should not be per- 
mitted. If the lawful possessor of the body will con- 
fidently assert himself and use his own will-power no 
obsession can take place. 

When such things occur, it is almost always because 
the victim has in the first place yielded himself to the 
invading influence, and his first step therefore is to 
reverse that act of submission, to determine strongly 
to take matters into his own hands again and to resume 


control over his property. It is this reassertion of him- 
self that is the fundamental requirement, and though 
much help may be given by wise friends, nothing which 
they can do will take the place of the development of 
will-power on the part of the victim, or obviate the 
necessity for it. The exact method of procedure will 
naturally vary according to the details of the case. 

The second question runs thus: "I have long been 
troubled by entities who constantly suggest evil ideas 
and make use of coarse and violent language. They 
are always urging me to take strong drink, and goading 
me on to the consumption of large quantities of meat. 
I have prayed earnestly, but with little avail, and am 
driven to my wits' end. What can I do?" 

You have indeed suffered greatly ; but now you must 
make up your mind to suffer no more. You must take 
courage and make a firm stand. The power of these 
dead people over you is only in your fear of them. Your 
own will is stronger than all theirs combined if you 
will only know that it is ; if you turn upon them with 
vigor and determination they must yield before you. 
You have an inalienable right to the undisturbed use 
of your own vehicles, and you should insist on being 
left in peace. You would not tolerate an intrusion of 
filthy and disgusting beings into your house on the 
physical plane ; why should you submit to it because the 
entities happen to be astral? If an indolent tramp 
forces himself into a man's house, the owner does not 
kneel down and pray — he kicks the tramp out; and 
that is precisely what you must do with these astral 

You will no doubt say to yourself that when I give 
you this advice I do not know the terrible power of 
the particular demons who are afflicting you. That is 
exactly what they would like you to believe — what they 


will try to make you believe ; but do not be so foolish as 
to listen to them. I know the type perfectly, and mean, 
despicable, bullying villains they are ; they will torment 
a weak woman for months together, but will fly in 
cowardly terror the moment you turn upon them in 
righteous anger! I should just laugh at them, but I 
would drive them out, and hold not a moment's parley 
with them. Of course they will bluster and show fight, 
because you have let them have their own way for so 
long that they will not tamely submit to expulsion ; but 
face them with iron determination, set your will against 
them like an immovable rock, and down they will go. 
Say to them : "I am a spark of the divine fire, and by 
the power of the God within me I order you to depart !" 
Never let yourself think for an instant of the possi- 
bility of failure or of yielding; God is within you, and 
God cannot fail. 

The fact of their demanding meat shows what low 
and coarse entities they are ; you should avoid all flesh- 
food and alcohol, because these things minister to such 
evil beings and make it more difficult for you to resist 

The third question is : "If it is possible for a man to 
become obsessed while he has temporarily lost control 
of his body during a fit of anger, is it not also possible 
for obsession to take place when one is out of the body 
during sleep?" 

I would submit that the circumstances are entirely 
different. Sleep is a natural condition, and though the 
ego leaves the body, he always maintains a close con- 
nection with it, so that under ordinary circumstances 
he would quickly be recalled to it by any attempt that 
might be made upon it. There are individual cases in 
which the ego is not so easily recalled, and a sort of 
temporary obsession is possible which may cause som- 

SLEEP 315 

nambulism, but these cases are abnormal and compara- 
tively rare. A fit of anger on the other hand is unnat- 
ural — an infraction of the natural laws under which we 
live. In this case it is the astral which has escaped 
from control ; the desire-elemental has rebelled against 
his master and has broken away from the hold of the 
ego exercised through the mental body, which alone 
keeps him safe as part of an astral mechanism. The 
rightful owner being dispossessed, the astral body is in 
the condition of a vessel whose helm has been aban- 
doned ; anyone who happens to be at hand can seize the 
wheel, and it may be a difficult matter to recover it. 


I am asked what is the real cause of sleep. 

I have not the detailed physiological knowledge 
which is needed to answer this question fully. But I 
have always understood that the necessity of sleep is 
due to the fact that the bodies grow tired of one an- 
other. The astral vehicle, which so far as we know is 
practically incapable of fatigue upon its own plane, 
since it can work incessantly for twenty years without 
showing signs of it, very soon becomes tired of the 
heavy labour of moving the particles of the physical 
brain, and needs a considerable period of separation 
from it to enable it to gather strength to resume the 
irksome task. 

The physical body, on its side, also becomes worn 
out, because while it is in a waking condition it is al- 
ways spending force a little faster than it can draw 
it in. With every thought or feeling, and with every 
muscular exertion, certain slight chemical changes 


appear to take place. The ordinary machinery of a 
healthy body is all the while working to counteract this 
change and to restore the condition previously existing, 
but in this it never quite succeeds. So that with every 
thought or action there is a slight, almost imperceptible 
loss, and the cumulative effect eventually leaves the 
physical body too exhausted to be capable of further 
thought or work. In some cases even a few moments 
of sleep will give the recuperative powers an oppor- 
tunity to reassert themselves and regain the ground 
that they have lost, thus restoring the balance suffi- 
ciently to enable the machine to go on working. 

Students often ask what is the best time for sleep. 
Unquestionably the rule of nature is that the day is for 
work and the night is for rest, and no infringement of 
nature's laws can ever be a good thing. One of the 
serious evils of our modern unnatural life is that noon 
is no longer, as it should be, the centre of the day. 
If a man lived by himself and could regulate his 
own affairs he could, no doubt, return at once to that 
obviously natural condition ; but, surrounded as we are 
by a mighty so-called civilization which is in many 
ways distorted and unnatural, we are unable to follow 
our individual predilections in this matter, and must to 
some extent adapt ourselves to the general custom, evil 
though it be. 

It is impossible to lay down rules as to the amount of 
sleep which is necessary for man, because there is so 
much difference in constitutions ; but when it is possi- 
ble that sleep should be taken between 8 P. M. and 
5 A. M. Some men need the whole of that time, while 
others may find themselves perfectly healthy on a 
smaller allowance. Such details of life each man must 
decide for himself according to his circumstances. 

People often ask whether there is any way in which 

SLEEP 31? 

they can control their dreams. The dreamer cannot 
usually change the course of his dream while it is go- 
ing on ; but the dream-life can indirectly be controlled 
to a very considerable extent. If a man's thought be 
pure and high while waking, his dreams will be pure 
and good also, and a specially important point is that 
his last thought as he sinks to sleep should be a noble 
and elevating one, since that strikes the keynote which 
largely determines the nature of the dreams which 
follow. An evil or impure thought draws round the 
thinker evil and impure influences, attracts to him all 
the gross and loathsome creatures who come near him. 
These will, in turn, react upon his mind and his astral 
body, and disturb his rest by awakening all kinds of 
low and earthly desires. If, on the other hand, a man 
enters the portals of sleep with his mind fixed upon 
high and holy things, he thereby draws round him the 
elementals created by like efforts in others ; his rest is 
peaceful, his mind open to impressions from above and 
closed to those from below, for he has set it working in 
the right direction. 

The dreaming of ordinary events does not interfere 
with astral work, because that dreaming is all taking 
place in the physical brain, while the real man is away 
attending to other business. Of course if the man, 
when out in his astral body, devotes himself to thinking 
over the events of his physical life, he will be unable 
during the time of such thought to do any other work, 
but that is a totally different thing from a mere ordi- 
nary dream of the physical brain, though when the man 
wakes in the morning it is frequently difficult for him 
to distinguish between the two sets of recollections. 
It really does not matter what the physical brain does 
so long as it keeps itself free from impure thoughts, but 
it is undesirable that the man himself should waste his 


time in introspection when he might be working on the 
astral plane. 


You ask what is the cause of sleep-walking. I have 
never had the opportunity of observing a case of som- 
nambulism, so I am unable to speak from direct knowl- 
edge ; but from reading accounts of such cases I should 
imagine that the phenomena may be produced by sev- 
eral widely different causes. There are instances in 
which it appears that the ego is able to act more di- 
rectly upon his physical body during the absence of the 
intermediate mental and astral vehicles — instances in 
which a man during his sleep is able to write poetry 
or to paint pictures which would be far beyond his 
powers when awake. 

There are other cases in which it is obvious that the 
dim consciousness inherent in the physical body is 
working uncontrolled by the man himself, so that it 
performs quite meaningless acts, or carries out to some 
extent the idea which was dominant in the mind before 
falling asleep. To this class belong the stories of serv- 
ants who have risen in the middle of the night to light 
the fire, of ostlers who have harnessed horses in their 
sleep, and so on. 

Again, there are cases in which some outside intelli- 
gence, whether incarnate or discarnate, has seized upon 
the, body of a sleeping man and used it for his own 
ends. This would be most likely to happen with a per- 
son who is what is called mediumistic — that is to say, 
whose principles are more loosely joined together than 
usual, and therefore more readily separable ; but oddly 
enough there seems to be a type of somnambulism 
which is due to a directly opposite condition, when the 


principles fit more tightly than usual, so that when the 
man would naturally visit some neighboring spot in his 
astral body, he takes the physical body along with him 
as well, because he is not wholly dissociated from it. 
Somnambulism is probably also connected with the 
whole complex problem of the various layers of con- 
sciousness in man, which under perfectly normal cir- 
cumstances are unable to manifest themselves. 

The Physical Body 

Physical immortality is not a possibility, for that 
which has a beginning must also have an end, and 
birth, growth, decay and death are the rules of the 
physical universe. No reasonable being could desire 
to retain the same body continuously ; it is precisely as 
though a small child should wish to wear the same 
suit of clothes during the whole of his life. As man 
evolves, his successive vehicles will become purer and 
nobler, and better fitted to meet the needs of his in- 
creasing capacity, so that even if a man could keep the 
same body he would check his growth by doing so, just 
as the child's growth would be checked by always wear- 
ing something of iron rigidity which was much too 
tight for him. 

At the same time it is our duty to take the best pos- 
sible care of our bodies and to improve them as much as 
we can. Never ill-treat the physical body. Take care 
of it as you would of a valuable horse, giving it enough 
rest and food, and keeping it scrupulously clean. It can 
do only a certain amount of work ; for example, a very 
strong body might walk a hundred miles without rest- 
ing, but it could not walk a thousand. In meditation 


put it into a comfortable position and then forget about 
it. You cannot forget it if it is uncomfortable, as it 
would constantly call you back. 

What should you eat? Well, so long as you avoid 
alcohol and corpse-eating it probably does not matter 
very much. Certain vegetables are coarser than others, 
and therefore when there is a choice it is as well to 
abstain from them. Among those I should class onions, 
mushrooms and cabbages. Rice is very pure food, but 
wheat, barley and oats give more nutriment in the 
same amount. I consider eggs undesirable, though I 
should unhesitatingly take them if no other food was 
to be had. 

There is no sort of question that vegetarianism is 
better in every way than the devouring of flesh. It 
furnishes more real nutriment, diminishes the liability 
to disease, gives greater strength, and does not stimu- 
late the lower nature. The vegetarian diet makes it 
far easier for a man to develop his higher qualities. 
It is known that our Masters make a single physical 
body last much longer than an ordinary man can do, by 
living always in accordance with hygienic laws and by 
absolute freedom from worry. In that respect we 
should all try to copy them as nearly as we can, but 
to endeavour to retain the same body indefinitely has 
always been a mark of those who follow the selfish 

There are various undesirable means by which such 
men have prolonged physical life — sometimes by vam- 
pirism, merely depleting the vitality of others, and 
sometimes by the complete transference to themselves 
of a succession of other human lives. But it is hardly 
necessary to warn Theosophists against proceedings 
of this nature. It is obvious that a person adopting 
such a plan would be one who is not evolving; and 


even if he succeeded he would only be as it were patch- 
ing and enlarging an old coat, but with all his efforts 
it would remain an old coat still. 

Tobacco and Alcohol 

The evil effect of the tobacco habit is obvious in the 
physical, the astral and the mental bodies. It permeates 
the man physically with exceedingly impure particles, 
causing emanations so material that they are fre- 
quently perceptible to the sense of smell. Astrally, it 
not only introduces impurity, but it also tends to 
deaden many of the vibrations, and it is for this reason 
that it is frequently found to "soothe the nerves," as 
it is called. But, of course, for occult progress we do 
not want the vibrations deadened nor the astral body 
weighed down with foul and poisonous particles. We 
need the capacity of answering instantly to all possi- 
ble vibrations, and yet at the same time we must have 
perfect control, so that these desires shall be as horses 
guided by the intelligent mind to draw us where we 
will, not to run away with us wildly, and carry us into 
situations where our higher nature knows that it ought 
never to be found. Therefore, for any person who is 
really anxious to develop his vehicles, tobacco is un- 
doubtedly a bad thing. 

Also it has a singularly deteriorating influence upon 
the man on the physical plane. It is absolutely the only 
thing, so far as I know, that a gentleman will deliber- 
ately do when he knows it to be offensive to others. 
But the hold which this noxious habit gains upon its 
slaves appears to be so great that they are utterly in- 
capable of resisting it, and all their gentlemanly in- 


stincts are forgotten in this mad and horrible selfish- 
ness. The effect on the astral body after death is also 
very bad ; the man is shut up for a long time as though 
in prison, and higher vibrations cannot reach him. 

The chief objection which is always brought by the 
more self-indulgent Theosophist against remarks such 
as these is that our great founder Madame Blavatsky 
herself smoked. I know this to be true, but it does not 
in the least alter the facts which I have stated above, 
which I know just as surely from long-continued per- 
sonal observation. Madame Blavatsky was in every 
way so entirely sui generis, so emphatically a case 
apart, that I do not think it reasonable for us to pre- 
sume that we can safely do what she did. I have often 
heard her say: "No one but my Master understands 
my case ; do what I tell you, not what I do." Also she 
once told me that she smoked incessantly "to quiet the 
vibrations of this old body, and prevent it from shak- 
ing itself to pieces." The effects on the physical plane 
during life and on the astral after death are precisely 
as I have described them, and it does not seem worth 
while incurring them for the sake of a petty indul- 

I think that Mrs. Besant's remarks about alcohol in 
Man and His Bodies are fully justified. There is no 
doubt whatever that from the point of view of the as- 
tral and mental bodies its use is always an evil; and 
there is also no doubt at all that very undesirable enti- 
ties are attracted by it. Of course many people who are 
estimable in other respects have certain most unpleas- 
ant habits, such as the drinking of alcohol, the eating of 
meat or the smoking of tobacco ; but the fact that they 
are otherwise good people does not make these things 
good and sensible. It is, of course, untrue that any 
of these things are physical necessities, but a man may 


accustom his system to the use of almost any kind of 
drug, until that system, being habituated to it, expects 
it and misses it if it does not get it. We know that 
exactly the same habit may be set up with opium and 
arsenic, but that does not make opium and arsenic good 
things to take. It is, however, generally quite useless 
to attempt to argue with any man as to his personal 
habits ; he is usually determined to cling to such habits 
because he likes them, and he cares very little whether 
they are good in themselves, or even good for him. 

You ask my opinion about the regulation of the sale 
of liquor. In all civilized countries some control is 
exercised over the sale of poisons, and they are allowed 
to be supplied only upon a doctor's certificate. The 
poison of alcohol does many thousands of times more 
harm than all other poisons put together, so surely the 
regulations governing its sale ought to be no less strict. 

It is perfectly true that every man will have to de- 
velop self-control for himself, but I really do not see 
how that affects our attitude with regard to the making 
of laws. You surely would not suggest that in order 
to teach people not to steal, we should continually at 
every street corner throw in their way special tempta- 
tions to induce them to steal, and then stand by without 
any interference to see whether they would develop 
sufficient strength of mind to resist our temptations. 

Yet that is exactly what is now being done with re- 
gard to the consumption of alcohol. We allow, en- 
courage and specially license a number of men to make 
a tempting display in our streets with the avowed ob- 
ject of trying to induce as many people as possible 
to degrade themselves by the habitual use of this 
poison. If at last mankind is so far evolving as to de- 
velop some sort of conscience with regard to the weaker 
brethren, it would seem well for us to encourage their 


advancement rather than to range ourselves against it. 
If we feel it right to care for and to help the insane, 
even to the extent of restraining them for their own 
good and for that of the public, it is surely well for us 
also to treat the victim of that terrible form of in- 
sanity known as drunkenness along exactly the same 
lines. But it must not be forgotten that the Theo- 
sophical Society takes no part whatever in any political 
movement, although of course its members as private 
individuals are perfectly free to take any side that 
they like in political questions. 


Accident, effect of, on astral 
plane, 286. 

Achievement, without helping 
others, 70. 

Adept, definition of, 19; not 
ambitious, 190; removing 
suffering, 237; use of term, 
19; future, 203. 

Adeptship and rebirth, 71; at- 
tainment of, 59. 

Adi-Buddha, 109. 

Advanced people, simple in 
habits, 177. 

Advantages of travel, 164. 

Advice, astral, 42. 

Adyar, no resistance to thought 
forms in, 237. 

Affection, double result of, 55. 

Agni, invocation to, 133. 

Agrae, mysteries of, 79. 

Akoustikoi, or hearers, 86. 

Alcohol, drinking, 179; effect 
of, on atomic web, 306; evil 
of, 322; regulation of, 323; 
use of, and obsession, 314. 

Alcyone, seventeenth life of, 

Alone in space, 280. 

Ambition, intensification of, 

Ambitious, adept cannot be, 
190; man, condition of, 82. 

Ananda, disciple of Buddha, 

Anger, obsession during fit of, 

Animals, attaining individual- 
ity, 70; carnivorous, 198; 
cruelty, 197; destruction to 
be avoided, 199; domestic, to 
be trained, 196; entering hu- 
man kingdom, 267; fear of, 
for man, 199; ill-treatment 

of, 197; in Atlantean days, 
198; individualizing, 197; in 
Lemuria, 198; not to develop 
ferocity in, 197; our duty to, 
196; slaughter of, for food, 
199; work of Atlanteans for, 

Annihilation, Nirvana not, 107. 

Apollonius of Tyana, 13, 21. 

Apophthegms of the mysteries, 

Apostles, the twelve, 119. 

Apotheosis of humanity, 95. 

Arhat, 59. 

Arhatship, 60. 

Ariadne, myth of, 79. 

Aryans, 134. 

Aryasangha, 163. 

Asceticism, 176; meaning of 
word, 176; of black magician, 

Asekha, achievement of, 4; 
consciousness of the, 19. 

Aspiration, 173. 

Association, with Masters, 29, 
32; with teachers, 32. 

Astral advice, 42. 

Astral Bodies, effect of inter- 
penetration of, 236; pass 
through each other, 235. 

Astral Body, after death, 263; 
and evil qualities, 170; and 
good qualities, 170; appear- 
ance of, with clairvoyant 
vision, 258; colours in, 182; 
during life, 263; effect of irri- 
tation on, 184; effect of to- 
bacco on, 322; has no sense 
of touch, 234; has no sense 
organs, 254, 294; incapable 
of fatigue, 314; in concentric 
shells, 237; influence of 
thought upon, 255; need not 
eat, 257; result of shock to, 
306; retains its form, 254; 




seen clairvoyantly, 182; 
sense organs in, 263; shelling 
of, 2:57; symbolized by fawn 
skin, 79; vibrations in, L82; 
what it ought to be. 182; 
working of senses in, 294. 

Astral Centres, 292. 

Astral Consciousness, 21 

Astral Counterpart, 233, 234; 
of physical body, 254, 256. 

Astral Disturbance, causing 
nervous troubles, L83. 

Astral Effect of cry, 286. 

Astral Inflammation, 184. 

Astral Matter, attraction of 
physical, 2.">:>; corresponds to 
physical, 233; drawn round 
himself by descending ego, 
253; luminosity of, 236; 
never solid, 235, 254. 

Astral Objects, moving of, 256. 

Astral Palsy, 183. 

Astral Plane, 67; accident on, 
236; currents on, 237; effect 
of action seen on, 265; ex- 
tends to Moon's orbit, 229; 
gravitation on, 231, 6; inter- 
penetration of matter on, 
236; its extent, 228; liability 
to error on, 67; light from 
Sun on, 236; penetrability of, 
235; reflection of the budd- 
hic, 225; service on, 237; 
sixth and seventh sub- 
planes of, 231; tests applied 
on, 67; the astral body of the 
earth, 228; the world of illu- 
sion, 67; twenty-five years 
on, 257. 

Astral Pressure, 233. 

Astral Revelations, 40, 41. 

Astral Sight, development of, 

Astral Teachers, 39. 

Astral Tramps, 313. 

Astral Vibrations, communi- 
cated, 183. 

Astral Work, effect of atmos- 
pheric and climatic condi- 
tions on, 237. 

Astral World, never dark, 236. 

Athanasian creed, 224. 

Athlete, disciple analogous to, 

Atlanteans, knowledge of, 139. 

Atlantis, animals in, L98. 

Atomic sub-planes, impressions 

Atomic web, 305; effect of cof- 
fee on, 306; effect of tea on, 
306; injury to, 305, 300. 

Atoms, permanent, 59; perma- 
nent astral, mental, 170; the 
four permanent, 226. 

Attainment of perfection, 69. 

Attitude toward children, our, 

Augoeides, of Masters, 222. 

Aura, colours of, 133. 

Auric egg, 225. 

Austerity, of the mind, 181; 
unintelligent, 176. 

Avalokiteshwara, 110. 

Avitchi, 281. 


Bacchus, toys of, 85; worship 

of, 76. 
Balance, 212. 
Baptism, 270. 
Belief in ceremonial one of the 

fetters, 123; real, depends on 

knowledge, 51, 121. 
Besant, Mrs., Masters speaking 

through, 33; on alcohol, 322; 

quoted, 64, 195; saving her 

present Teacher's life, 39. 
Betrayal of secrets, 72. 
Bhagavad Gita, quoted, 65, 94, 

177, 180. 
Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, ceremony 

described, 131. 
Bible, Christian, 114, 118. 
Bigotry, in Christian Church 

utilised, 153. 
Black magician, 127, 129, 280, 

Blavatsky, Madame, 9, 18, 52; 

and smoking, 322; quoted, 

65; on auric egg, 225; on 

force centres, 286; on pineal 

gland 294; on Spiritualism, 

Blind faith, 117. 



Bodhisattva, work of the 8, 109. 

Bodies, fourth round, 64; inner, 
of the Buddha, 103. 

Body, astral, colours in 259; 
not susceptible to fatigue, 
258; permanent colours in, 
means persistent vibration, 

Body, casual, 260; shows man's 
stage, 260; thought or feel- 
ing that can produce an 
effect in, 260; used by adept, 

Body, pituitary, 293. 

Body, physical, 319; care of, 

Bodhi tree, 133. 

Book, oldest in the world, 138. 

Bocks, not perfect, 157. 

Brahmajala Sutta, 106. 

Brahmans, 98. 

Brain, cells, and corresponding 
astral and mental matter, 
311; in sleep, 317. 

Brotherhood, 147, 267; Hima- 
layan or Thibetan, 3; of the 
T. S., 14; the, 72; Great 
White, 3, 6, 14, 36, 54, 61, 84, 
128, 153, 138, 214, 283. 

Brothers not equal, 148. 

Brutality, casual, 265. 

Buddha, a, 8, 97. 

Buddha and Ananda, 226. 

Buddha, initiation of the, 8. 

Buddha, the Lord Gautama, 8, 
97; aura of, 103; affirms the 
ego, 106; advice of, about 
Absolute, 129; inner bodies 
of, 103; numerous arhats of, 
102; of the fourth race, 102; 
personality of, 101; preach- 
ing of, 101; teachers contem- 
poraneous with, 114; teach- 
ing of, 98, 129, 190. 

Buddhas, 221; before Gautama, 
8; future, 203. 

Buddhi, on nirvanic plane, 224. 

Buddhic consciousness, 226, 
227; emotions reflected in as- 
tral, 212. 

Buddhic plane, 229; body being 
formed on, 149; functioning 

on, 226; gaining experience 
of others on, 227; its extent, 
239; reflected in astral, 226. 

Buddhic vehicle, 60. 

Buddhism, 97; a living influ- 
ence, 103; common sense of, 
100; effect of, on Hinduism, 
101; mnemonics of, 101; 
Northern and Southern, 104; 
not a new religion, 97; the 
best books on, 104. 

Building up individuality, 49. 


California, developing of clair- 
voyance in, 237. 

Carelessness of ego, 280. 

Carnivorous mammalia, 198. 

Castes, 98, 133; why colours 
attributed to, 133. 

Casual brutality, 265. 

Cataclysms, 128. 

Casual Body, 23, 55, 60; build- 
ing qualities into, 170; con- 
stitution of, 270; hardening 
of, 284; has three parts, 271; 
loss of, 284. 

Centre of my circle, 191. 

Centres, astral, 292; of force, 
286; of force, effect of arous- 
ing, 292, 294. 

Ceremonial, 123; reliance on, 
one of the fetters, 123. 

Ceremonies, effective and in- 
effective, 130. 

Certainty of ultimate good, 48. 

Chain, one buddhic body for, 

Chakrams, the seven, 286. 

Change, fear of, 63. 

Changing World, The, 20. 

Character, formation of, 57. 

Charity, 159. 

Children not easily obsessed, 
309; old souls in new bodies, 
201; of the fire-mist, 7; our 
attitude towards, 201. 

Christ, advent of the, 20, 22, 
103, 151; and St. John, 226; 
explaining parables to dis- 
ciples, 74; inner bodies of, 



103; on seonian condemna- 
tion, 270; teaching of, 269; 
the Lord Maitreya, 10; work 
of the, 19. 

Christian Church and Gnostic 
writers, 74; divisions, 115; 
mysteries in, 74; philosophy 
of, 115. 

Christian Creed, the, 88. 

Christian, monks destroying 
manuscripts, 75; scriptures, 
contradictions in, 114. 

Christianity, choice of a sect, 
115; magic in, 123; The- 
osophy explains, 117; The- 
osophy not opposed to, 114; 
variants of, 115. 

Christs, 221. 

Church, Fathers, 75; Roman 
Catholic, 122. 

Circle, centre of mv, 191. 

City of the Golden Gate, 139. 

Clairvoyant magnification, 296. 

Coffee, effect of, on atomic web, 

Colours, in the astral body, 259. 

Colour prejudice, 164. 

Common Sense, 147; of Budd- 
hism, 100. 

Confucius, 114. 

Consciousness, astral and men- 
tal, 285; buddhic, includes 
that of others, 226, 227; de- 
velopment of, 48, 245; focus 
of, 285; each a centre of, 221; 
identification with animals, 
210; identifying the, with 
plant and animal life, 210; 
layers of, in somnambulism, 
319; of ego, centre of, passes 
to higher planes, 223; one 
only, 241 ; raising the, to ego, 
59; rending veil between 
stages of, 245; three possi- 
bilities of moving, 96. 

Consecration of the host, 123. 

Consummation, final, 223. 

Continuity of purpose in future 
lives, 59. 

Control, of body, 176; of mind, 
211; of passions, 265; of 
thought, 214. 

Co-operation, 203. 

Corpse eating, 320. 

Cosmic influences, 140. 

Counterpart, astral, 233; men- 
tal plane, connection with, 

Counterparts, 253. 

Co-workers with the Masters, 

Creed, Athanasian, 224. 

Creeds, rational interpretation 
of, 115. 

Critical points in evolution, 54. 

Criticism, 159; of self, 160; 
real meaning of, 161; the 
higher, 117; when useless, 

Cromwell, Oliver, 160. 

Crookes, lemniscates of, 232. 

Cross, the Greek, 137; the 
Latin, 138; the Maltese, 137; 
symbolism of the, 138, 289. 

Crucibles, disciples are, 64. 

Cruelty, effect of, 265; to ani- 
mals, 197. 

Crustaceans, mental, 62. 

Cry, astral, effect of, 286. 

Curiosity, a disease, 167. 

Currents, astral, 237 


Damnation, seonian, 270. 

Danger, of experiment, 301; of 
indiscriminate psychic devel- 
opment, 44. 

Day of life, a, 204. 

Dead, the, in heaven life, 230; 
on astral, 231. 

Death, a temporary absence, 
202; fear of, 201; loss of 
matter after, 263; not a loss, 

Decad, perfect man, a, 69. 

Deities, images of Indian, 130. 

Deity, all prayers reach, 126. 

Demons, cowardly, 314. 

Depression, 181; cause of, 250; 
effect of, on meditation, 45; 
to be disregarded, 173. 

Descent into matter, the, 47. 

Desertion, result of, 154. 



Desire, killing: out, 189, 206; on 
astral plane, 257; purifica- 
tion of, 189. 

Desire, elemental, 260; action 
of, on astral body after 
death, 259; action of, on 
higher bodies, 264; afraid of 
dissolution, 263; exact copy 
of astral body of last life, 
263; not yourself, 263. 

Desires, transmutation of, 189. 

Destruction, not evil, 128. 

Deterioration of character due 
to hardening of atomic web, 

Devas, 143; illumination from, 

Development, certain for all, 
54; doctrine of, 122; of astral 
sight, 214; of consciousness, 
47, 244; of faculty, 53; of 
will, 211; psychic, 44; sitting 
for, 306; unequal, 260. 

Devil, the, 126; pacts with, 127; 
personations of, 127. 

Devotion, double result of, 5. 

Diamond, jubilee, the, 152. 

Difficulties, of discipleship, 64, 

Dimension, the fourth, 141. 

Dimensions, many, 230. 

Disciple, full of joy, 63. 

Disciples, crucibles of nature, 
64; persecution of, 65. 

Discipleship, difficulties of, 64, 
65; three stages of, 35. 

Discomfort, no merit in, 179. 
180; when may have use, 179. 

Discrimination, 160. 

Diseases, nervous, 184. 

Dislike, trifling causes of, 165. 

Distrust, born of ignorance, 

Doctrine, of development, 122. 

Door, shutting of the, into hu- 
manity, 268. 

Dreaming and astral work, 

Dreams, control of, 317. 

Drones, useless, 269. 

Drunkard, condition of, 81. 

Drunkenness, effects of, 307; is 

insanity, 324. 
Dryness, spiritual, 207. 
Duties, not rights, 160. 
Duty, of happiness, 181; of 

silence, 168; to animals, 196. 
Dzyan, Eook of, 138. 
Dzyan, Stanzas of, 120. 


Earth, centre of, and the sun, 
232; conditions in interior of, 
231; evolution in interior of 
231; forces through concen- 
tric layers of, 232 ; no central 
shaft through, 232. 

Eat, what we should, 320. 

Effort, never lost, 206. 

Egg, the auris, 225. 

Ego, action of Master on, 247; 
activities of, on own plane, 
246; advanced, inconsider- 
ate of his body, 249; affirmed 
by the Buddha, 105; and his 
vehicles, 240; and monad, 
222; and personality, 213, 
241; and personality, channel 
between, 250; appeal to, by 
repentance, 274; attention 
of, drawn in meditation, 248; 
building theosophical ideas 
into, 205; calling attention of 
the, 252; carelessness of, 
280; consciousness of, as a 
conscious entity, 242; consti- 
tution of, 224; control of, 
over fraction in personality, 
272; co-operation of, with 
personality, 250; descending 
into lower matter, 272; does 
not absolutely exist, 106; 
effect on, by meditation and 
study, 247; entanglement in 
lower matter, 273 et se.; 
gaining experience from per- 
sonality, 278; glimpse gained 
by, of past and future incar- 
nations, 243, 251; grasp by, 
of personality, 247; growth 
of, under influence of Mas- 
ter, 246; his control, 272; 



hope of, 260; how to bring 
down, 251; in brutality sel- 
fish men, 274; in cases of in- 
sanity, 309; inconsiderate of 
body, 249; in early stages, 
23; in materialistic men, 274; 
in meditation, 213; in sleep, 
314; in somnambulism, 318; 
knowledge of Master by, 
252; loss by, of causal body, 
284; loss of personality by, 
279; Masters' influence upon, 
23; no lower qualities in, 170; 
not to be judged by personal- 
ity, 249; on his own plane, 
242, 245, 250; only partially 
expressed in physical, 242; 
ousted in obsession, 309; out 
of current of evolution, 280; 
putting forth in personality 
described, 272; raising the 
consciousness to the, 59; 
reaching up of, 248; shut out 
from personality, 271; spe- 
cial interest of, in personal- 
ity, 248; stages of response 
to consciousness by, 244; the 
baby, 55; the spiritual triad 
224; the yoga of an, 213 
throws himself back, 281 
wants essence of experience, 
252; watchfulness of, during 
physical life, 251; when 
gains memory of past lives, 
244; will come down to help, 
252; withdrawal of, from 
astral after death, 264; with- 
drawal of, into higher planes, 
224; work during heaven- 
life, 252; work of, on own 
plane, 250. 

Egos, proportion of successful, 

Eight-fold, Path, the noble, 

Eighth sphere, 281. 

Electricity, a force of the Lo- 
gos, 298. 

Elemental, physical, in chil- 
dren, 309; the desire, 260. 

Elemental Essence, see Desire, 

Elemental; does not know 
man, 261; instinct of, 261. 

Elementals, drawn round body 
in sleep, 317. 

Elements, new, manufacture 
of, 231. 

Emanation, by the Logos, rea- 
son for, 47; from the divine, 

Emotion, effect of, 183. 

Enlarging, the self, 56. 

Entities, astral, accepting 
teaching from, 42; astral, 
ready to give teaching, 41; 
pacts with, 127. 

Epoptai, 83. 

Esoteric section, 89. 

Eternal justice, 100. 

Etheric pressure, 232. 

Evil, balanced with good, 275; 
destruction not, 128; effect 
of, on higher matter, 275; in- 
evitably transient, 48, 50; 
matter not, 128; meaning of, 
128; motives, attribution of, 
162; no hierarchy of, 127; 
persistence in, 211; readiness 
to believe, 161; makes vibra- 
tions in coarse matter, 275. 

Evolution, delay in, 269; from 
the Divine, 47; of the world, 
154; slow, 275; three critical 
points in, 55; what it is, 49. 

Evolutionary period, middle of, 

Evolutions, in earth's interior, 

Evolved and unevolved man, 
difference in appearance be- 
tween, on astral plane, 258. 

Experience, 227; not necessary 
for ego to go through every, 
227; of personality, given to 
ego, 278; of another gained 
on buddhic level, 227. 

Experiment, dangers of, 301. 

Extremes, irrational, 99. 

Faculty, development of, 53. 
Failure, impossibility of, 59o 



Failures, of the fifth round, 
267, 268; of the moonchain, 

Falling in love, 191. 

Faith, blind, 117. 

Fates, possible of soul, 284. 

Fathers, Church, 75. 

Fatigue, astral and mental, 
257; no astral, 315. 

Fawn, skin of a, dress in mys- 
teries, 79. 

Fear, of change, 63; of death, 
201; permits obsession, 313. 

Feelings, do not matter, 207; 
personal, 187. 

Fetters, the ten great, 60. 

Fiery power, 298. 

Fifth race quality, 160. 

Fifth round, failures of, 267, 

Fire, 142; the sacred, 143. 

Fire-mist, children of the, 7. 

Flame, Lords of the, 7, 24. 

Fleece, the Golden, symbol of 
mind body, 83. 

Foci in the Logos, 141. 

Focus of consciousness, 285. 

Force, effect of good, 170. 

Force Centres, correspondence 
of, to astral centres, 292; cor- 
respondence of, to colour and 
music, 287; effect of force in, 
287 et seq.; not moral qual- 
ities, 291; position of, 287; 
resemblance to flowers of, 

Forces of the Logos, 287, 298. 

Forebodings of evil, 185. 

Formation of character, 57. 

Founding of the sixth root 
race, 149. 

Four, Gospels, the, 119; noble 
Truths, 100. 

Fourth dimension, 141. 

Free will, use by man of, 267. 

Freedom of will, 48. 

Friendship, special, 112. 
Fussing over trifles, 186. 

Future lives, continuity of pur- 
pose in, 59. 


Gautama, the Lord, 8, 9, 97; 
affirms the ego, 105; inner 
bodies of, 103; numerous 
arhats of, 102; the aura of, 
102; the preaching of, 102; 
the teaching of, 100, 129. 

Geometry, 85. 

Gnosis, the, 117. 

Gnostic doctors or teachers, 
117; quoted, 46. 

God, 93, 94; immanence of, 93; 
personal, 93; three persons 
in one, 224. 

Gods in Hinduism, 129. 

Golden, fleece, the, 83; Gate, 
city of the, 139. 

Good, all things working for, 
48; always used, 20; more 
fertile than evil, 170. 

Gospel, quoted, 270. 

Gospels, the four, 119. 

Gossip, evil effect of, 167, 185. 

Government, duty of the, 189. 

Gravitation on the astral plane, 
231, 232. 

Great Angels, 221. 

Great Bird, symbolism of, 139. 

Great Ones, 221; all round de- 
velopment of, 15; as chan- 
nels of light and life, 221; in 
nirvana, 221. 

Great Soul, merging into, 219. 

Great White Brotherhood, 3, 6, 
15, 35, 54, 61, 89, 128, 153, 

Greater Mysteries, 76. 

Greece, mysteries of, 75, 76. 

Greek, cross, 80, 137. 

Group meetings, 215; souls, 
Masters' influence upon, 23. 


Hall, of ignorance, 66; of 
learning, 68; of wisdom, 68. 

Happiness, a duty, 181; men- 
tal, 181; perpetual, 173, 174. 

Hathayogapradipika, 301. 

Hatha yogi, 181. 

Hearers, 86. 



Heart, symbolism of, 139. 

Heaven-life, position in, 230; 
renouncing, 60. 

Hell, ideas of, superstitions, 

Help, to living and dead, 214; 
to the sick, 214. 

Helpers, invisible, 25, 236; 
mistaken for saints, 120. 

Helpfulness, the keynote of, 

Helping the world, 71, 158. 

Hermes, 8; Lord Buddha as, 97. 

Hermit, life of the, 31. 

Hierarchy, Head of the, 7, 35, 
138; of evil, no, 127; plans 
of, 69; in the, 7; the Great, 
195; the occult, 6, 14, 97. 

Higher, criticism, the, 117; life 
for the man of the world, 99; 
planes, 95, 218; self, activity 
of, 173, 241; self, and lower, 

Hinayana and Mahayana, 108. 

Hinduism, 129; effect of Budd- 
hism on, 101; Lord Buddha 
as reformer of, 98; rigidity 
of, 98; rites and ceremonies 
of, 130. 

Holy places, 22. 

Host, consecration of the, 123. 

Householder, every, a priest, 

Humanity, the Logos as apo- 
theosis of, 95; the great or- 
phan, 204. 

Humour, necessity of, 18. 

Hunger, physical craving of, on 
astral plane, 257. 

Hymn, Christian, quoted, 71. 

Iamblichus, 75. 
Idyll of the White Lotus, 14. 
Ignorance breeds distrust, 164. 
Illumination, from higher self, 

212; three kinds of, 212. 
Illusion of astral world, 67. 
"Image, The Living," 29. 
Images, magnetized, 130. 
Immanence of God, 93. 

Immortality, physical, not a 

possibility, 319. 
Impermanence of personality, 

Impossibility of failure, 59. 
Impure thought, effect of, 317. 
Incarnation a failure, in one 

type of insanity, 312. 
Incarnations, seven hundred 

and seventy-seven, 57. 
Incubus of war, 151. 
Individualization of animals, 

Individuality, 55; a delusion, 

220; and the monad, 49; 

building of, 49; no loss of, in 

nirvana, 219; of monad, 222. 
Inflammation, astral, 184. 
Influences, cosmic, 140; plane- 
tary, 209. 
Initiates, 19; inequality, 73; 

recognition by each other, 

Initiation, 35; secrets of, im- 
possible to reveal, 72; the 

first, 54. 
Initiations, key to the true, 89; 

steps on the Path, 34. 
Insane, the, out of the body, 

Insanity, break between ego 

and his vehicles in, 309; 

forms of, 311; one cause of, 

Inspiration, moments of, 174. 
Interior of the earth, 231. 
Introspection, during astral 

life, 318; morbid, 169, 172. 
Intrusion upon Masters, 124. 
Invisible helpers, 25, 236; mis- 
taken for saints, 126. 
Invisible Helpers, 88, 236. 
Invocation to Agni, 132. 
Irritability, cure of, 58. 
Italy, old religions in, 101. 

Jason, golden fleece of, 83. 

Jesus, 10, 119; not illegitimate, 
119; later Apollonius of Ty- 
ana, 13; later Ramanuja- 
charya, 13. 



Joy of discipleship, 63. 
Jubilee, the Diamond, 152. 
Jungle, purposes of retirement 

to, 31. 
Justice, eternal, 99. 


Kama, to be killed out, 189. 

Karma, balancing, 61, 71; 
effects of, seen on astral, 
265; of sending evil thoughts, 
167; preparing, for future 
life, 205; the law of, 202. 

Karmic, deities, 221; links with 
Masters, 38. 

K. H., the Master, previous in- 
carnations of, 13, 37; quoted, 

Killing out desire, 189. 

King, The, 7. 

Know thyself, 169. 

Knowledge of the Atlanteans, 
139; underlies belief, 122. 

Kundalini, 84, 298. 

Laboratory of Third Logos, 

Ladder of life, endless, 53. 

Lao-Tse. 118. 

Latin cross, the, 138. 

Lemuria, animals in, 198. 

Lemurians, 134. 

Lesser mysteries, 76. 

Liberation, 72; roads to, 109; 
selfish, 61. 

Life, A Day of, 204; a wasted, 
275; destruction of, 199; lad- 
der of 53 ; thirst for, 272. 

Light of Asia, The, 104. 

Light on The Path, 14, 206, 

Link with Master, 45. 

"Living Image, The," 29. 

Lodge, Great White, 43. 

Logoi, Planetary, centres in 
Logos, 140. 

Logos, The, 93, 129, 137, 138, 
140,171; as Avalokiteshwara, 
109; aspects of, 94, 138; 
emanation of the, 46; forces 

of the, 287; form of, 95; 
His reason for creating, 46; 
laboratory of Third, 231; of 
our solar system, 94; our 
union with, 96; plan of, 47; 
reached along line of fire, 
140; response of the, 6; sac- 
rifice of the, 64; scheme of 
the, 53; sending forth mo- 
nads, 49; Third, and new ele- 
ments, 231; three aspects of, 
223, 224; three outpourings 
of, 96; tormenting the, 177; 
will of the, 266. 

Loneliness, illusory, 210. 

Lords of the Flame, help given 
by, 7, 24. 

Loss, by the ego, 277; serious, 
difficulty of, 274. 

Lost, personalties, 279, 283; 
personalities, three classes 
of, I. 267, II. 271, III. 279, 
souls, 265; soul, term a mis- 
nomer, 266. 

Lotus, symbolism of, 140, 141; 
throne, 94. 

Love, casting out self by, 191; 
falling in, 192; selfish and 
unselfish, 66; the higher, 226. 

Lower, force centres, 300; self, 
174, 241. 

Lunar form, slaying the, 190. 


Madura, 130. 

Magic, in Christian Church, 

Magicians, black, 127, 280, 282. 

Magnification, power of, 296. 

Mahayana and Hinayana, 108. 

Maitreya, The Lord, 9, 19, 39, 

Maltese cross, 137. 

Mammalia, carnivorous, 198. 

Man, a divine emanation, 46; 
an image of God, 224; devel- 
oped unequally, 260; evolved 
and unevolved, 258; helping 
an evil, 226; in the world, 
higher life for, 99; triple 
spirit in, 223. 



Man and His Bodies, 322. 

Man, Visible and Invisible, 182, 

Manas, drawn up into buddhi, 
224; on nirvanic plane, 225. 

Manifestation, reason for, 46. 

Manifestations of deity, 129. 

Manu, the, 10 ; of a root race, 7 ; 
of the sixth root race, 59; 
regulations of the, 130. 

Manus, future, 203. 

Mara, personification of past 
karma, 128. 

Master, a, quoted, 204; action 
by, on ego, 248; assuming 
the form of a, by black ma- 
gician, 42; attracting the 
attention of a, 35, 37, 39; 
aware of pupil's thoughts, 
30, 32; channel of the Logos, 
29; confidence in the, 210; 
effect produced by the, on 
pupil's vehicles, 30; enfold- 
ing pupil in high aura, 220; 
enthroning the, 193; force at 
the command of, 26; influ- 
ence of, on ego, 246; influ- 
ence of, on personality, 248; 
karmic debt paid by a, 39; 
meditation on the, 45; 
method used by a, in speak- 
ing through a pupil, 32; rec- 
ognizing a, 16; relation of, to 
accepted pupil, 26; "son" of 
the, 34; use by a, of pupil's 
body, 33; use of force by a, 

Masters, The, 3, 11, 18, 25; ac- 
tivities of some, 14; age of, 
17; and foreign languages, 
16; appearance of the, 16; 
association with, 27, 29; bod- 
ies. They wear, 6; character- 
istics of, 11; coming into 
touch with, in illumination, 
212; defined, 3; effect of the 
presence of, 12; failures of 
moon chain, 69; full of joy, 
177; ill-wishers of the, 39; 
imitating the, 166; imperfect 
instruments of, 25 ; interrupt- 
ing the, 25; in evolutionary 

ladder, 53; intrusion upon, 
124; karmic ties of the, with 
individuals, 38, 39; knowl- 
edge possessed by the, 16; 
link with, 45; living in ac- 
cordance with hygienic laws, 
320; living men, 12; nation- 
ality of, 6; on many Rays, 
43; none overlooked by, 37, 
304; number of, 18; outlook 
of, on the world, 37; personal 
requests to, 24; personation 
of, 32; plans of the, 21; phys- 
ical bodies of the, 19; pour- 
ing out of force by, 23; re- 
pudiating the, 155; silence of, 
19; the two, 4, 10; Their won- 
derful knowledge, 16; why 
They will not train you, 27, 
30; work of the, 14, 21; work 
of the, with egos, 23. 

Materialists often religious 
people, 50. 

Mathematics, in the mysteries, 

Mathematikoi, 87. 

Matter, density of, in earth's 
centre, 231; descent into, 47; 
not evil, 127, 176; physical, 
attracting astral, 233. 

Matthaeus the monk, 119. 

Meat, liked by low entities, 
314; eating, 180,320. 

Meditation, 206, 248; attitude 
of ego towards personality 
in, 213; drawing attention of 
ego in, 248; in group, 214; 
objects of, 208; on the Mas- 
ter, 45; on the Supreme, 209; 
opens channel between ego 
and personality, 250; preju- 
dices during, 213; reasons 
for dulness in, 208; regular- 
ity in, 45; special room for, 
215; spiritual dryness in, 
207; stages in, 211. 

Memory of past lives, 105. 

Men, living in their minds, 271; 
living in their passions, 271; 
not feeling alike toward all, 
226; of two classes, 204. 



Mental, body, warts on, 163; 
consciousness, 285; crusta- 
ceans, 62; fatigue non-exist- 
ent, 139; plane, extent of, 
229; plane, forces of, 243. 

Messiah, advent of, 151. 

Middle way, the, 99. 

Mind, austerity of the, 181; 
control of, 211; slayer of the 
real, 163, 165, 211; your own 
business, 159, 166, 167. 

Minister of religions, work 
of, 7. 

Minotaur, myth of, 79. 

Monad, and ego, 222; and indi- 
viduality, 49; as triple spirit, 
223; centre in Logos, 168; 
descent of, into planes, 223; 
from the Logos, 49; home of, 
223; individuality of, 223; 
life of, 223; voice of, 223. 

Moods, caused by illusion, 177; 
several causes for, 173. 

Moon-chain, failures of, 69. 

Morbid introspection, 168, 169. 

Morphine habit, 179. 

Museum, the occult, of the 
Brotherhood, 138. 

Music, relation of, to platonic 
solids, 87. 

Mystae, 79. 

Mysteries, accusations against 
the, 75; all nations have had, 
74; an inner school in, 83; 
books on, 75; clairvoyantly 
examined, 76; in Christian 
Church, 74; lesser and 
greater, 77; life of disciples 
in, 88; mathematics in, 87; 
of ancient Greece, 73; of 
Eleusis, 76; symbols used in, 
86 et seq.; teaching of the, 
79, 80; the ancient, 75; the 
real secret, 78; the third de- 
gree of the, 77. 

Myth, of Ariadne, 79; of Nar- 
cissus, 78; of Proserpina, 78; 
of Sisyphus, 82; of Tantalus, 
81; of the Minotaur, 79; of 
Theseus, 79; of Tityus, 82. 


Nagarjuna, 13. 

Narcissus, myth of, 79. 

Narcotics, evil of, 308. 

Nations, union of, 150. 

Nature, opposition to, 279. 

Nature-Spirits, 200; sometimes 
obsess, 310. 

Nervous diseases, 183. 

New truth, how the world 
treats, 66. 

Nidanas, the twelve, 100. 

Nirmanakayas, 4, 5. 

Nirvana, 219; definitions of, 
107; description of, 221; not 
annihilation, 107; recogni- 
tion in, 222. 

Nirvanic plane, extent of, 230. 

Noble eight-fold path, 101. 

Non-interference, 167. 

Northern Buddhism, 104, 108. 


Objects of meditation, 208. 

Obsession, 127, 307; and som- 
nambulism, 314; by astral 
beings, 305; during fit of an- 
ger, 314; during sleep, 314; 
during somnambulism, 318; 
forms of, 310; how to resist, 
310, 312; ousting of the ego 
in, 309; permitted by fear, 

Occult Chemistry, 86. 

Occult Hierarchy, 6, 14, 97; de- 
partments of, 7, Head of, 7. 

Occult, musemum, the, 138. 

Occultism, how it changes life, 

Occultist, has no personal feel- 
ings, 187. 

Offence, taking, 186. 

Olcott, Colonel, and his Mas- 
ter, 39. 

Om, sacred word of Aryan 
race, 139. 

One-Pointedness, 157. 

Opportunities, 15, 89; for good 
never refused, 166; lost, 154; 
neglecting minor, 156. 



Opportunity, result of failure 

to use, 277. 
Optimism, 173. 
Orphan, the great, 204. 
Orpheus, 8; Lord Buddha as, 

Other Side of Death, The, 214. 
Ourselves, as channels of light 

and life, 221. 
Outpourings, the three, 96. 

Palsy, astral, 183. 

Pantheism, 94. 

Paritta or Pirit, 111. 

Passions, control of, 265. 

Past lives, memory of, 105. 

Path, becoming the, 68; diffi- 
culties of the, 65; of holiness, 
4, 43; of holiness, incarna- 
tions during, 61, 62; of prog- 
ress, 46; of woe, 62, 65; 
stages of the, 19; the, and 
the law, 68. 

Path of Discipleship, The, 88. 

Patriotism, 66. 

Peace, universal, 151. 

Perfect man a decad, 69. 

Perfection, attainment of, 69; 
of self, how to begin, 57; 
relativity of, 69. 

Perfections, six great, 101. 

Persecution of disciples, 65. 

Personal, feelings, occultist 
has no, 187, 188; God, 93; 
matters unimportant, 185. 

Personality, and ego, 213, 241; 
and individuality, 105; break- 
ing away from ego, 279; ex- 
periences of, and ego, 245; 
impermanence of, 106; influ- 
ence upon, by Master, 246; 
in new incarnation, 278; lost, 
283; part of ego, 279; ram- 
pant, 155; sinking the, 28; 
the amputated, 281; why 
characteristic of, intensified, 

Personalties, getting rid of our, 

Personation, in spiritualism, 
135; of the Masters, 42. 

Pharaoh, head-dress of, 297. 

Physical, body, astral counter- 
part of, 254, 255; care of, 
319; immortality, 319. 

Physikoi, 88. 

Pilgrims, 24. 

Pilgrimages, occult reasons 
for, 132. 

Pineal gland, 294. 

Pituary body, 293; body, link 
with astral, 303. 

Plan of the Logos, 48. 

Plane, astral, 226; buddhic, 227. 

Planes, not shelves, 227; the 
higher, 218. 

Planetary, influences on medi- 
tation, 209; Logoi, 140; spir- 
its, 209. 

Planets, movements of, 140; 
not isolated, 141. 

Platonic solids, in the mys- 
teries, 85, 86. 

Poltergeist phenomena, 265. 

"Poor Men," the, 116. 

Pope, the, 121. 

Power of magnification, 296. 

Prana or vitality, 298. 

Prayer, 124; always reaches 
Deity, 126; how it operates, 
126; to saints, 125. 

Preceptors, self-appointed, 42. 

Prejudice, 136, 152, 163, 213; 
racial, 163; colour, 163; reli- 
gious, 163, 165; what it is, 

Prejudices, getting rid of, 163; 
of personality, 247. 

Pressure, etheric, 231. 

Probation, average time of, 28. 

Progress, certain, 203; effect of 
rapid on organism, 68; path 
of, 46; the law of, 54. 

Proselytism, futility of, 10. 

Psychic, development, dangers 
of indiscriminate, 44; pow- 
ers, according to Buddhism, 
112; powers, to come as re- 
sult of character develop- 
ment, 308. 



Pupil, and accepted, 29, 32; as 
channel, 28; conditions for 
acceptance of, 26, 27; first 
task of, 28; how to qualify to 
become a, 37; influence of 
Master upon, 32, 45; joy of 
the, 63; life of the, full of 
joy, 53; Master speaking 
through, 33; not a medium, 
33; probationary period of, 
29; psychic development of, 
44; relation of, to Great 
Brotherhood, 35; what it 
means to be a, 26, 27; when 
acceptable, 26, 29; work of 
the, at night, 43; work to 
be performed by, 25. 

Purification, of astral and 
physical, 308; of desire, 189. 

Purpose, continuity of, in fu- 
ture lives, 58. 

Pythagoras, 114; school of, 86, 
87; the Master K. H., 13. 


Queen Victoria, 152. 


Ramanujacharya, 13. 

Readiness to believe evil, 162. 

Reality, the only, 222. 

Realization, of self, 57; of 
truth, 52. 

Rebirth and adeptship, 69. 

Records of the past, 53. 

Regularity in meditation, 45. 

Reincarnation, and spiritual- 
ists, 135; taught in the mys- 
teries, 78. 

Relation, between colour and 
sound, 87; between harmonic 
chord and platonic solid, 87. 

Relics, 132. 

Religion, Greek, 80. 

Religions, critics are friends of, 
117; minister of, 7. 

Renunciation, 172; of heaven- 
world, 59; path of, 61. 

Repentance, a mistake, 175; ef- 
fect of, on ego, 274. 

Reservoir, the, 4, 5. 
Retrogression, 276. 
Revelations, astral, 40. 
Root race, Buddha of, 152; the 

sixth, beginning of, 10; the 

sixth, spiritual leader of, 10; 

the sixth, temporal leader of, 

Rosicrucians, 88. 
Round, the seventh, 69, 70. 
Ruysbroek, quoted, 65. 

Sacrifice of the Logos, 64. 

Sacrifices, 127. 

"Safe" or "saved," 54, 270. 

Saints, invisible helpers mis- 
taken for, 126. 

Salvation, 98. 

Samannaphalasutta, 105. 

Sarthon, 12. 

Satyrs, 299. 

Saving our souls, 203. 

Schoolmaster, wickedness of 
average, 265. 

Secret Doctrine, The, 20, 66, 84, 
138, 269, 274. 

Secrets, betrayal of, 72; of in- 
itiation, 72. 

Seeing, and hearing, astral, 
254; truly, how to begin, 163. 

Self, dethronement of, 192; en- 
larging the, 56; escape from, 
191; higher and lower, 174, 
241; in everything, 209; 
never any pain to the, 62; 
realization of, 57. 

Self-centredness, 191, 195, 276; 
in theosophical work, 194. 

Self-control, 188. 

Self-examination, 168, 171. 

Self-gratulation, 194. 

Self-knowledge, necessity of, 

Self-perfection, how to begin, 

Selfishness, a scaffolding, 55; 
an anachronism, 55; in love, 
66; in work, 193; necessary 
at one stage, 55; shells of, 
238; utilised, 153. 



Separateness, sense of, 220; 
striving for, 279. 

Serpent-Fire, 84, 292, 295, 298; 
action of, in etheric centres, 
295; action of, varies with 
types of people, 303; advice 
about arousing, 304; author's 
experience with, 303; con- 
quest of, repeated in each in- 
carnation, 303; dangers of 
awakening, 300, 301; experi- 
menting with, 301; its con- 
nection with occult develop- 
ment, 302; no limit of age 
for, 304; on all planes, 298; 
rousing of, 295; seven layers 
of, 298; unpleasant possibili- 
ties of premature unfoldment 
of, 300; works spontaneously, 
302, 303. 

Severed limb, astral counter- 
part of, 255. 

Shade, after death, 261, 278. 

Shamballa, 138. 

Shankaracharya, inner bodies 
of, 103; not the Buddha, 8, 

Shells of selfishness, 238. 

Shiva, the destroyer, 128. 

Shutting the door, 268. 

Silence, duty of, 167. 

Sin, 120. 

Single-mindedness, 157. 

Sinners, miserable, 175. 

Sisyphus, myth of, 82. 

Sixth root race, founding, 152. 

Slander, 285. 

Sleep, best time for, 316; cause 
of, 315; ego in, 314; ele- 
mentals attracted during, 
317; obsession during, 314; 
recollection during, 305; re- 
cuperative power during, 
316; surroundings in, 234. 

Sleeping and waking, state be- 
tween, 242. 

Small worries, 181. 

Sliding back, not possible, 170, 

Society, Theosophical, 4, 22; 
not political, 324; purpose 
of, 11. 

Solar, Logos, system physical 
body of, 93; system, viewed 
from fourth dimension, 141. 

Somnambulism, causes of, 318; 
sometimes caused by obses- 
sion, 314. 

Son of the Master, 34. 

Sotapatti or Srotapanna, 54. 

Soul of a People, The, 104. 

Soul, Great, merging into, 219; 
selling the, 127. 

Souls, difference between, 266; 
dropping out in fifth round, 
267; losing, 266; lost, 263; 
possible fates of, 284; saving 
our, 203; three classes of 
lost, I. 267, II. 271, III. 279. 

Southern Buddhism, 104, 110; 
ceremonies of, 110; psychic 
powers in, 111; teaching of, 

Space, alone in, 280. 

Specialization, danger of, 204. 

Spheres, the, 227. 

Spirillae, seven, 61. 

Spirit, seven-fold, 225; sheath 
for the, in nirvana, 222; 
sheath of, at planetary lev- 
els, 222; triple, 224, 225. 

Spirits, Planetary, individual- 
ity of, 220 

Spiritual, dryness, 207. 

Spiritualism, agreement with 
theosophy, 134; personations 
in, 135; the higher, 136. 

Spiritualists and reincarnation, 

Spleen, 287. 

Srotapanna, 54. 

Stages, three, of relation of 
Master to pupil, 35. 

Stanzas of Dzyan, The, 120. 

Stream, entering, upon the, 59. 

Sub-race, Teutonic, 150. 

Successes, proportion of, 69. 

Suffering, relieving, a cruelty 
to sufferer, 227. 

Summer-land, extent of, 231. 

Sun, as heart of Solar Logos, 
93; every fixed star a, 97. 

Supererogation, 6. 

Superstition, about hell, 202. 



Supreme, no change in, 209. 
Surroundings, always helpful, 

171; in sleep, 234. 
Suspicion, beginnings of, 162; 

distorting effect of, 162. 
Svastika, 138 
Symbol, of the cross, 137, 289; 

of the great bird, 139; of the 

heart, 139; of the lotus, 140. 
Symbology, 137. 
Symbols, in book of Dzyan, 

137; in the mysteries, 84 et 

Sympathy, 199; with nature, 

lost in modern science, 199. 


Tantalus, myth of, 81. 

Tau, sacred word of the Atlan- 
tean race, 139. 

Tea, effect of, on atomic web, 

Teachers, association with, 31; 
astral, 40. 

Teaching, how to verify, 52, 53; 
Lord Buddha's, 98, 100, 129, 
190; of children, 200; priv- 
ilege of, 156; the higher, un- 
reality of, 50. 

Test of earth, 236. 

Teutons, unification of, 150, 

Thalaba, quoted, 153. 

Theosophic truth, duty of 
spreading, 157. 

Theosophical conferences, ef- 
fects of, 164. 

Theosophical Society, 4, 22; as 
gateway to the Masters, 87; 
one object in founding, 11; 
not political, 324. 

Theosophy, agreement with 
spiritualism, 134; and true 
primitive Christianity, 114; 
checking truths of, by direct 
observation, 53; explains 
Christianity, 118; giving cer- 
tainty of value of higher 
things, 50; how verified by 
earlier students, 51; what it 
does for us, 50. 

Theseus, myth of, 79. 

Third Logos, laboratory of, 

Thirst for life, 272. 

Thought, control, 214; evil, im- 
possible to ego, 252; shells 
of, 62; last, before falling 
asleep, 317. 

Thought-form, as a barrier, 
165; entered into by low be- 
ings, 265; resistance to, 238. 

Three outpourings of Logos, 

Thyrsus, the, 84. 

Tityus, myth of, 82. 

Tobacco, effect of, on astral 
after death, 321; effect of, on 
atomic web, 306; evil effect 
of, 321; smoking, 179. 

Tolerance of race peculiarities, 

Toltecs, 134. 

Torture foolish, 177. 

Toys of Bacchus, 85. 

Tramps, astral, 313. 

Travel, advantages of, 164. 

Trinity, 93. 

Triple spirit, 222. 

Trishna, 272. 

Truth, how the world treats 
new, 66; realization of, 52. 

Truths, four noble, 100. 

Twelve apostles, the, 119. 


Ultimate good certain, 48. 
Unconsciousness, after death, 

Union of nations, 150. 
Unity, trinity in, 224. 
Universal peace, 151. 
Unselfish, how to make oneself, 



Vampirism, 320; by lost per- 
sonality, 281. 
Vegetables, coarse, 320. 
Vegetarianism, 320. 
Vehicles of the ego, 240. 
Venus, Lords from, 7, 203. 



Verification of teaching, 52, 53. 
Vibrations, evil, in coarser 

matter, 275; of one on the 

Path, 31. 
Victoria, death of Queen, 152. 
Vitality, exists on all planes, 

225; force of the Logos, 298. 
Voice of the silence, 223. 
Voice of the Silence, The, 42, 

66, 101, 163, 211, 292, 298, 

Vyasa, Lord Buddha as, 97. 


Waking and sleeping, state be- 
tween, 242. 

War, incubus of, 151. 

Way, the middle, 99. 

Ways, the seven, 4. 

Web, atomic, 305. 

Wickedness of gossip, 167. 

Will, developing, 180, 211; how 
to train, 180; power, easy 
and difficult exercise of, 211. 

Woe, candidate for, 4; path of, 

61, 65. 
Words do not injure, 186. 
Work, how to do, 193; of the 

Master, 155; selfishness in, 

193; right to do a, 203. 
Worker, dangers in way of 

theosophical, 193, 194. 
World, helping of the, 71, 157. 
World's Mother, 292, 298. 
Worries, small, 181. 
Worry, 215; absence of, 172; 

conquering, 185; learning 

not to, 172; thought form of, 



Yoga, the, of an ego, 213. 
Young souls, 269. 

Zoroaster, 142; Lord Buddha 
as, 97; the first, 8. 




(second series) 



Volume II 







The After-death Life 


The Theosophist After Death 3 

The Relation of the Dead to Earth .... 5 

Conditions after Death 16 

Animal Obsession 20 

Individualised Animals 30 

Localisation of States 31 

Heaven-Life Conditions 37 

Karma in the Heaven-Life 43 

J^ectmfr Rectum 

Astral Work 

Invisible Helpers 57 

Remembering Astral Experience 71 

The Higher Dimensions 78 



The Mental Body and the Power of Thought 

The Mental Body 87 

A Neglected Power 97 

Intuition and Impulse 105 

Thought Centres 107 

Thought and Elemental Essence 112 

^mtrtlj Return 

Psychic Faculties 

Psychic Powers 117 

Clairvoyance 126 

The Mystic Chord 138 

How Past Lives are Seen 145 

Foreseeing the Future 158 

Devas and Nature-Spirits 

The Aura of the Deva 165 

The Spirit of a Tree 171 

The Worlds and the Races of Men 

The Building of the System 175 

The Planetary Chains . 184 

Successive Life-Waves 190 

The Monads From the Moon 211 

The Earth Chain 224 

Modes of Individualisation 249 

The Seven Types 262 

Stray Notes on Races 264 

The Irish Race 264 

The Spanish Race 269 

The Jewish Race 270 

The Atlanteans 273 

Mars and its Inhabitants 275 


Three Laws of Human Life 289 

The Return to Birth 290 

Personal Characteristics 305 

Bringing Over Past Knowledge 306 

The Intervals Between Lives 308 


The Law of Equilibrium 321 

The Method of Karma 332 

The Karma of Death 337 

Karma as an Educator 342 

Varieties of Karma 344 

Animal Karma 349 

The Theosophical Society and its Founders 

What is the Theosophical Society? .... 357 

Theosophy and World Leaders , 366 

Reminiscences 373 

Faithful Unto Death 384 

A Course of Study in Theosophy 390 

Index 397 


The long-promised second series of Adyar Talks has 
at length been published after many unavoidable de- 
lays. After careful consideration it was thought best 
to abandon the use of the title The Hidden Life and to 
issue the volume as The Inner Life, Volume II. Some 
of these informal talks to the classes at Adyar have 
already appeared in The Theosophist, but many of the 
chapters contain facts which have not been published 
before, such as "Mars and Its Inhabitants." 

The manuscript of The Hidden Side of Things, which 
promises to be a book of some seven hundred pages, is 
ready for the printer, and we are only waiting an op- 
portune time to publish it. 


Adyab, June 29, 1911. 


While the President was absent from Adyar on a 
tour through England and America last year, it fell 
to my lot to take charge of the daily meetings of the 
students here. In the course of that time I delivered 
many informal little addresses and answered hundreds 
of questions. All that I said was taken down in short- 
hand, and this book is the result of those notes. In a 
number of cases it happened that what was said on the 
roof at the meetings was afterwards expanded into a 
little article for The Theosophist or The Adyar Bulle- 
tin; in all such cases I reprint the article instead of 
the stenographic report, as it has had the advantage of 
certain corrections and additions. Necessarily a book 
of this sort is fragmentary in its nature; necessarily 
also it contains a certain amount of repetition ; though 
this latter has been excised wherever possible. Many 
of the subjects treated have also been dealt with in 
my earlier books, but what is written here represents 
in all cases the result of the latest discoveries in con- 
nection with those subjects- The subjects have been 
classified as far as possible, and this volume is the 
second series, containing the nine remaining sections. 


Adyar, July, 1911. 

Jljtrst Section 

%> JUter-bRdlf pfe 



The Theosophist After Death 

HEN a member of the Theosophical So- 
ciety finds himself upon the astral plane 
after having permanently laid aside his 
physical body, it will be well for him to 
begin by taking stock, as it were — by 
seeing what is his position, what is the life before 
him, and how he can make the best use of it. He 
will do wisely to consult on these matters some 
friend who has had wider experience than himself, 
and in practice this is what dead members almost 
always do. Remember that when the member enters 
upon the astral plane after death he is not making 
his first appearance there. Usually he has already 
done much work there during the sleep of the physical 
body, and is therefore on familiar ground. As a 
general rule his first instinct is to make straight 
for our beloved President, which is probably quite 
the wisest thing for him to do, as there is no one 
better qualified to give him sound advice. So many 


possibilities open out in astral life that one cannot 
lay down any general rule, though a man cannot go 
far wrong who tries to make himself useful to those 
around him. There are plentiful opportunities for 
learning, as well as for work, and the new-comer 
will have to decide how he can best apportion his 
time between them. 

The astral world will not be altered for the con- 
venience of members of the Theosophical Society, 
any more than the physical world is, and they, like 
every one else, will have to encounter what happens 
to be there. If a drunken man is walking along a 
certain road, those who happen to pass along that 
road will meet him, whether they are members or 
not, and the astral plane does not, in this respect, 
differ from the physical. The members, being in- 
structed in regard to the rules governing life on the 
astral plane, ought to know better than the unin- 
structed how to deal with such unpleasant beings as 
happen to come in their way, but they are just as 
likely as any one else to meet them. They have, 
however, probably met such beings many times 
while functioning upon the astral plane during life, 
and there is no more reason to be afraid of them 
than before; indeed, meeting them then upon their 
own level, it will be far easier to come to an under- 
standing with them and to give them such help as 
they are able to receive. 

There is practically no difference between the con- 
dition of the ordinary person and the psychic after 
death, except that the psychic, being somewhat more 
familiar with astral matters, would feel more at 
home in his new environment. To be psychic means 
to be able to bring through into the physical con- 
sciousness something of the wider life; it is therefore 


in the condition of the physical vehicle that there is 
an inequality between the psychic and the ordinary 
person, but when the physical is dropped that in- 
equality no longer exists. 

The Relation of the Dead to Earth 

A dead man is often aware of the feelings of the 
family that he has left. If you try to think exactly 
what it is that can be manifested through the astral 
body, you may easily see how much he is likely to 
know. He does not necessarily follow in detail all 
the events of the physical life; he does not neces- 
sarily know what his friends are eating, or in what 
occupations they are engaged. But he knows whether 
they are glad or sorry, and he is at once aware of 
such feelings as love or hate, jealousy or envy. 

When a drunkard hovers about a gin-shop it is 
only by partial materialisation (that is, by drawing 
round himself a veil of etheric matter) that he can 
draw in the odour of the alcohol. He does not smell 
it in at all the same sense as we do; and that is why 
he is always anxious to force others into the condition 
of drunkenness, so that he may be able partially to 
enter their physical bodies and obsess them, so that 
through those bodies he can once more directly ex- 
perience the taste and the other sensations which 
he so ardently desires. 

In the astral body there are exact counterparts of 
the eyes and the nose and the mouth, but we must 
not therefore think that the astral man sees with 
those eyes, hears with those ears, or cati smell or 


taste through the nose or mouth. All the matter of 
the astral body is constantly in rapid motion from 
one part of it. to another, so that it is quite impossi- 
ble for any astral particles to be specialised in the 
same way as certain nerve-ends are specialised in 
the physical body. The senses of the astral body 
act not through special organs, but through every 
particle of the body, so that with astral sight a man 
can see equally well with any part of his body, and 
can see all around him simultaneously, instead of 
only in front of him. He could grasp at the astral 
counterpart of the hand of a living man, but as the 
two hands would pass through one another without 
any sense of contact, there would be no object in his 
doing so. It is, however, perfectly possible for him 
to materialise a hand which, though invisible, can 
be felt just as the ordinary physical hand can be, as 
may often be observed at seances. 

There are three subdivisions of the astral plane 
from which it may be possible (though not desira- 
ble) for disembodied men to see and follow events 
taking place upon the physical plane. On the low- 
est sub-plane the man is usually occupied in other 
ways, and concerns himself little with what takes 
place in the physical world, except, as is explained 
in our literature, when he haunts vile resorts; but, 
in the next subdivision, he has very close touch with 
the physical plane, and may quite probably be con- 
scious of a good many things in connection with it, 
though what he sees is never the physical matter 
itself, but always the astral counterpart of it. In 
rapidly diminishing degree this consciousness is also 
possible as he ascends through the next two sub- 
planes; but beyond that, it would be only by the 
special effort to communicate through a medium 


that contact with the physical plane could be gained, 
and from the highest sub-plane even that would be 
extremely difficult. 

The extent of a man's power to see and follow 
physical events from the astral plane is determined 
by his character and disposition, as well as by the 
stage of development to which he has attained. Most 
of those whom we ordinarily call good people, living 
out their lives to their natural end, sweep through 
all these lower stages before awakening to astral 
consciousness, and they are therefore unlikely to be 
conscious of anything physical at all. Some few, 
however, even of these are drawn back into touch 
with this world by great anxiety about some one left 

Less developed persons have in their composition 
more of the matter of these lower sub-planes, and 
are therefore much more likely to be able to follow 
to some extent what goes on upon earth. Most of 
all is this the case if they are people whose whole 
turn of thought is essentially of this world — who 
have in them little or nothing of spiritual aspiration 
or of high intellect. This downward tendency grows 
with the using, and a man who is at first happily 
unconscious of what lies below him may be so un- 
fortunate as to have his attention attracted to it, 
frequently by selfish manifestations of the grief of 
the survivors. He then exerts his will to keep him- 
self from rising out of touch with this life to which 
he no longer belongs; and in such a case his power 
of seeing earthly things increases for a time, and 
then he suffers mentally when he presently finds such 
power slipping from him. Such suffering is entirely 
due to the irregularity introduced into the astral life 
by his own action, for it is absolutely unknown in 
the ordinary and orderly evolution after death. 


If it is complained that in this way the departed 
does not see the physical world exactly as it really 
is, we must answer that neither the departed nor we 
on this plane ever see the physical world as it really 
is at all, for we (or most of us) see only the solid 
and liquid portions thereof, and are altogether blind 
to the far vaster gaseous and etheric parts; while the 
departed does not see the physical matter at all, nor 
even the whole astral counterpart of it, but only that 
portion of the latter which belongs to the particular 
sub-plane upon which he is at the time. The only 
man who gets anything like a comprehensive view of 
affairs is he who has developed etheric and astral 
sight while still alive in the physical body. 

Another difficulty in the way of the disembodied is 
that he by no means always recognises with any 
certainty the astral counterpart of the physical body 
even when he sees it. He usually requires considera- 
ble experience before he can clearly identify objects, 
and any attempt which he makes to deal with them 
is liable to be very vague and uncertain, as is often 
seen in haunted houses where stone-throwing, tramp- 
ling, or vague movements of physical matter take 
place. This power of the identification of objects is 
thus largely a question of experience and knowledge, 
but it is little likely to be perfect unless he has known 
something of such matters before death. 

A correspondent writes to ask whether a dead man 
can enjoy the astral counterpart of a play at a 
theatre, and whether there will be room for him 
there if the building is already full of people. 

Certainly a theatre full of people has its astral 
counterpart, which is visible to dead people. The 
play, however, is not likely to afford them any enjoy- 
ment, since they cannot see the costumes and the 


expression of the actors at all as we see them, and 
the emotions of these actors, being only simulated 
and not real, make no impression upon the astral 
plane. Astral bodies can and constantly do inter- 
penetrate one another fully, without in the least in- 
juring one another. If you will think for a moment 
you will see that this must be so. When you sit next 
to any person in a railway carriage or in a tram-car 
your astral body and his must necessarily interpene- 
trate to a very large extent. There is not the slight- 
est difficulty in such interpenetration, since the 
astral particles are enormously farther apart in pro- 
portion to their size even than physical particles 
are. At the same time they seriously affect one an- 
other as far as their rates of vibration are con- 
cerned, so that to sit in close proximity to a person 
of impure, jealous or angry thought is exceedingly 
prejudicial. A dead friend can, therefore, quite easily 
enter a theatre which is full of people — more es- 
pecially as the people are seated upon the ground or 
the platforms, while the astral entity is far more 
probably floating about in the air. 

The man who commits suicide runs away from 
school before the appointed lesson is learnt; he is 
guilty of the great presumption involved in taking 
into his own hands a decision which should be left 
to the working of the Great Law. The consequences 
of so great a rebellion against nature are always of 
a momentous character. They are certain to affect 
the next life, and quite probably more lives than one. 
The circumstances surrounding a suicide immedi- 
ately after death are the same as they would be for 
the victim of an accident, since both of them arrive 
upon the astral plane with equal suddenness. But 
there is the enormous difference that the man who 


dies by accident, not expecting death, is thrown into 
a condition of unconsciousness, and usually passes 
through the lowest sub-plane without knowing any- 
thing of its varied unpleasantness. The suicide, on 
the contrary, has acted deliberately, and is gener- 
ally painfully aware of much that is horrible and re- 
pugnant to him. He cannot be saved from the sights 
and feelings which he has brought upon himself; but 
he may often be helped to understand them, and may 
be inspired with patience, perseverance and hope by 
the good offices of some kind friend. 

While fully recognising that suicide is a mistake, 
and a most serious one, we are not called upon to 
judge our brother who commits that mistake. There 
is a wide difference between different cases, and it 
is impossible for us to know the various factors which 
enter into each, although every one of them is duly 
taken into account in the working of the law of 
eternal justice. 

In trying to estimate the conditions of a man's 
life on the astral plane after death, there are two 
prominent factors to be considered — the length of 
time which he stays upon any particular sub-plane, 
and the amount of his consciousness upon it. The 
length of a man's stay upon any sub-plane depends, 
as has been said, upon the amount of matter belong- 
ing to that sub-plane he has built into himself dur- 
ing earth-life. 

But the amount of consciousness that a person 
will have upon a given sub-plane does not invariably 
follow precisely the same law. Let us consider an 
extreme example of possible variation, in order that 
we may grasp its method. Suppose a man has 
brought over from his past incarnation tendencies 
requiring for their manifestation a large amount of 


the matter of the lowest sub-plane, and has in his 
present life been fortunate enough to learn in his 
earliest years the possibility and the necessity of con- 
trolling these tendencies. It is improbable that such 
a man's efforts at control would be uniformly and 
entirely successful; but if they were, the substitu- 
tion of finer for grosser particles would progress 
steadily though slowly. 

This process is at best a gradual one, and it might 
well happen that the man died before it was half com- 
pleted. In that case there would undoubtedly be 
enough matter of the lowest sub-plane left in his 
astral body to ensure him no inconsiderable residence 
there; but it would be matter through which in this 
incarnation his consciousness had never been in the 
habit of functioning, and, as it could not suddenly 
acquire this habit, the result would be that the man 
would rest upon that sub-plane until his share of its 
matter was disintegrated, but would be all the while 
in a condition of unconsciousness — that is, he would 
practically sleep through the period of his sojourn 
there, and so would be entirely unaffected by its many 

It will be seen that both these factors of post- 
mortem existence — the sub-plane to which the man 
is carried and the degree of his consciousness there 
— depend not in the least on the nature of his death, 
but upon the nature of his life, so that any accident, 
however sudden or terrible, can scarcely affect them. 
Nevertheless, there is reason behind the familiar old 
prayer of the Church: "From sudden death, good 
Lord, deliver us;" for though a sudden death docs 
not necessarily affect the man's position upon the 
astral plane in any way for the worse, at least it 
does nothing to improve it, whereas the slow wast- 


ing away of the aged or the ravages of any kind of 
long-continued disease are almost invariably accom- 
panied by a considerable loosening and breaking up 
of the astral particles, so that when the man re- 
covers consciousness upon the astral plane, he finds 
some at any rate of his chief work there already 
done for him. 

The great mental terror and disturbance which 
sometimes accompany accidental death are in them- 
selves a very unfavourable preparation for the astral 
life; indeed, cases have been known in which such 
agitation and terror persisted after death, though 
that is happily rare. Still, the popular desire to 
have some time in which to prepare for death is not 
a mere superstition, but has a certain amount of 
reason at the back of it. Naturally, to anyone who 
is leading the Theosophical life it will make but 
little difference whether the transition from the 
physical plane to the astral comes slowly or quickly, 
since he is all the time doing his best to make as 
much progress as possible, and the object before 
him will remain the same in either case. 

To sum up then: it seems clear that death by acci- 
dent does not necessarily involve any lengthy resi- 
dence on the lowest level of the astral plane, though 
it may in one sense be said slightly to prolong such 
residence, since it deprives the victim of the oppor- 
tunity of burning out the particles belonging to that 
level during the sufferings of a lingering disease. 
In the case of young children it is exceedingly un- 
likely that in their short and comparatively blame- 
less young lives they will have developed much 
affinity for the lowest subdivisions of astral life; in- 
deed, as a matter of practical experience they are 
hardly ever to be found in connection with that sub- 


plane at all. In any case, whether they die by acci- 
dent or disease, their life on the astral plane is a 
comparatively short one; the heaven-life, though 
much longer, is still in reasonable proportion to it, 
and their early reincarnation follows as soon as the 
forces which they have been able to set in motion 
during their short earth-lives work themselves out, 
precisely as we might expect from our observation 
of the action of the same great law in the case of 

Nothing that is likely to be done in ordinary life 
to his physical corpse need make any difference 
whatever to the man living on the astral plane. I 
am obliged to make these two reservations because, 
in the first case, outside of ordinary life there are 
certain horrible magical rites which would very 
seriously affect the condition of the man on the other 
plane, and in the second, although the state of the 
physical corpse need not make any difference to the 
real man, it nevertheless sometimes does, by reason 
of his ignorance or foolishness. Let me endeavour 
to explain. 

The length of a man's astral life after he has 
put off his physical body depends mainly upon two 
factors — the nature of his past physical life, and his 
attitude of mind after what we call death. During 
his earth-life he is constantly influencing the building 
of matter into his astral body. He affects it directly 
by the passions, emotions and desires which he allows 
to hold sway over him; he affects it indirectly by the 
action upon it of his thoughts from above, and of all 
the details of his physical life (his continence or his 
debauchery, his cleanliness or his uncleanliness, his 
food and his drink) from below. If, by persistence in 
perversity along any of these lines, he is so stupid as 


to build for himself a coarse and gross astral vehicle, 
habituated to responding only to the lower vibrations 
of the plane, he will find himself after death bound 
to that plane during the long and slow process of 
that body's disintegration. On the other hand if, by 
decent and careful living, he gives himself a vehicle 
mainly composed of finer material, he will have very 
much less post-mortem trouble and discomfort, and 
his evolution will proceed much more rapidly and 

This much is generally understood, but the second 
great factor — his attitude of mind after death — 
seems often to be forgotten. The desirable thing is 
for him to realise his position on this little arc of his 
evolution — to learn that he is at this stage with- 
drawing steadily inward towards the plane of the 
true ego, and that consequently it is his business to 
disengage his thought as far as may be from things 
physical, and fix his attention more and more upon 
those spiritual matters which will occupy him during 
his life in the heaven-world. By doing this he w T ill 
greatly facilitate the natural astral disintegration, 
and will avoid the sadly common mistake of unneces- 
sarily delaying himself upon the lower levels of 
what should be so temporary a residence. 

Many people, however, simply will not turn their 
thoughts upwards, but spend their time in strug- 
gling with all their might to keep in touch with the 
physical plane w r hich they have left, thus causing 
great trouble to anyone who may be trying to help 
them. Earthly matters are the only ones in which 
they have ever had any living interest, and they 
cling to them with desperate tenacity even after 
death. Naturally, as time passes on, they find it in- 
creasingly difficult to keep hold of things down 


here, but instead of welcoming and encouraging this 
process of gradual refinement and spiritualisation 
they resist it vigorously by every means in their 
power. The mighty force of evolution is eventually 
too strong for them, and they are swept on in its 
beneficent current, yet they fight every step of the 
way, thereby not only causing themselves a vast 
amount of entirely unnecessary pain and sorrow, 
but also seriously delaying their upward progress. 

Now, in this ignorant and disastrous opposition 
to the cosmic will a man is much assisted by the pos- 
session of his physical corpse as a kind of fulcrum 
on this plane. He is naturally in close rapport with 
it, and if he is so misguided as to wish to do so, he 
can use it as an anchor to hold him down firmly to the 
mud until its decomposition is far advanced. Crema- 
tion saves the man from himself in this matter, for, 
when the physical body has been thus properly dis- 
posed of, his boats are literally burned behind him, 
and his power of holding back is happily greatly 

We see therefore that, while neither the burial nor 
the embalming of a corpse can in any way force the 
ego to whom it once belonged to prolong his stay 
upon the astral plane against his will, either of 
those causes is a distinct temptation to him to delay, 
and immensely facilitates his doing so if he should 
unfortunately wish it. No ego of any advancement 
would allow himself to be detained upon the astral 
plane, even by a proceeding so foolish as the embalm- 
ing of his corpse. Whether his physical vehicle was 
burned or allowed to decay slowly in the usual loath- 
some manner, or indefinitely preserved as an Egyp- 
tian mummy, his astral body would pursue its own 
line of quick disintegration entirely unaffected. 


Among the many advantages gained by cremation 
the principal are that it entirely prevents any at- 
tempt at partial and unnatural temporary reunion 
of the principles, or any endeavour to make use of 
the corpse for the purposes of the lower magic — to 
say nothing of the many dangers to the living which 
are avoided by its adoption. 

Conditions after Death 

Students often ask whether for the ordinary man 
a subconscious or an active existence is more desira- 
ble on the astral plane. This depends upon the 
nature of the active existence, and upon the stage of 
development of the ego concerned. The ordinary 
man dies with a certain amount of unexhausted de- 
sire still in his composition, and this force must work 
itself out before it is possible for him to sink into a 
subconscious condition. If the only activity possi- 
ble for him is that of the lower desires, it is ob- 
viously better for him that nothing should be allowed 
to interfere with his sinking into comparative un- 
consciousness as soon as possible, since any new 
karma that he makes is little likely to be of an ad- 
vantageous kind. 

If, on the other hand, he is sufficiently developed 
to be able to be of use to others on the astral plane, 
and especially if he has already been in the habit of 
working there during sleep, there is no reason why 
he should not usefully employ the time of his en- 
forced sojourn there, though it would be inadvisable 
to set in motion new forces which would lengthen 


that sojourn. Those who are working under the 
direction of the pupils of the Masters of Wisdom will 
naturally avail themselves of their counsel, since they 
have had much experience along these lines, and can 
in turn consult others of still wider knowledge. 

The astral life may be directed by the will, just as 
the physical life may be, always within the limits 
prescribed in each case by karma — that is to say, by 
our own previous action. The ordinary man has little 
will-power or initiative, and is very much the crea- 
ture of the surroundings which he has made for him- 
self, on the astral plane as on the physical; but a de- 
termined man can always make the best of his con- 
ditions and live his own life in spite of them. What 
has, after all, been caused by his will can gradually 
be changed by his will, if time permits. 

A man does not rid himself of evil tendencies in 
the astral world any more than he would in this 
life, unless he definitely works to that end. Many of 
the desires which are so strong and persistent in him 
are such as need a physical body for their satisfac- 
tion, and since he has that no longer, they often 
cause him acute and prolonged suffering; but in 
process of time they wear themselves out, they be- 
come as it were atrophied, and die down because of 
this impossibility of fulfilment. In the same way the 
matter of the astral body slowly wears away and dis- 
integrates as the consciousness is gradually with- 
drawn from it by the half-unconscious effort of the 
ego, and thus the man by degrees gets rid of what 
ever holds him back from the heaven-world. 

But the worst of his trouble is that the man is 
generally not alive to the necessity of getting rid of 
the evil which detains him. It is obvious that if he 
realises the facts of the case and gives his mind to 


the work, he can greatly expedite both the processes 
referred to above. If he knows that it is his business 
to kill out earthly desires, and to withdraw into him- 
self as quickly as may be, he will earnestly set him- 
self to do these things; instead of which he usually 
in his ignorance broods over the desires and so 
lengthens their life, and clings desperately to the 
grossest particles of astral matter as long as he 
possibly can, because the sensation connected with 
them seems nearest to that physical life for which 
he is so passionately longing. Thus we see why one 
of the most important parts of the work of the in- 
visible helpers is to explain facts to the dead, and 
also why even a merely intellectual knowledge of 
Theosophical truths is of such inestimable value to 
a man. 

The dead man when he first arrives upon the astral 
plane by no means always realises that he is dead, 
and even when that fact comes home to him it does 
not follow that he at once understands how the astral 
world differs from the physical. In the physical 
world man is the slave of a number of imperious 
necessities; he must have food and clothing and 
shelter; in order to procure these he must have 
money; and in most cases in order to obtain money 
he must do some kind of work. All this is so much 
a matter of course to us down here that the man 
who is se^" free from this slavery finds it difficult for 
a long time to believe that he is really free, and in 
many cases he continues unnecessarily to impose upon 
himself fetters which he has in reality cast aside. 

So we sometimes see the newly dead trying to eat 
— sitting down to or preparing for themselves wholly 
imaginary meals, or building for themselves houses. 
I have actually seen a man in the summer-land build- 


ing a house for himself stone by stone, and even 
though he made each of these stones for himself by 
an effort of his thought, he did not yet grasp the fact 
that he might just as well have made the whole 
house for himself, with the same amount of trouble, 
by a single effort of the same kind. He was gradu- 
ally led to see that, by the discovery that the stones 
had no weight, which showed him that his present 
conditions differed from those to which he had been 
used on earth, and so led him to investigate further. 

In the summer-land men surround themselves with 
landscapes of their own construction, though some 
avoid that trouble by accepting ready-made the land- 
scapes which have already been constructed by others. 
Men living on the sixth sub-plane, upon the surface 
of the earth, find themselves surrounded by the astral 
counterparts of physically existing mountains, trees 
and lakes, and consequently are not under the neces- 
sity of manufacturing scenery for themselves; but 
men upon the higher subplanes, who float at some 
distance above the surface of the earth, usually pro- 
vide themselves with whatever scenery they desire, 
by the method that I have described. 

The commonest example of this is that they con- 
struct for themselves the weird scenes described in 
their various scriptures, and therefore in those 
regions we constantly find ourselves in presence of 
clumsy and unimaginative attempts to reproduce 
such ideas as jewels growing upon trees, and seas of 
glass mingled with fire, and creatures which are full 
of eyes within, and deities with a hundred heads and 
arms to correspond. In this way, as a consequence 
of ignorance and prejudice during their physical life, 
many men do a great deal of valueless work when 
they might be employing their time in the helping 
of their fellows. 


To the man who has studied Theosophy and there- 
fore understands these higher planes, one of their 
pleasantest characteristics is the utter restfulness and 
freedom which comes from the absence of all these 
imperious necessities which make a misery out of 
physical life. The dead man is the only absolutely 
free man, free to do whatever he wills and to spend 
his time as he chooses, free therefore to devote the 
whole of his energies to helping his fellows. 

Animal Obsession 

We are familiar with the idea that an ego on its 
way down into reincarnation may sometimes be 
drawn aside from its course and indefinitely delayed 
at astral levels by the attraction of the group-soul 
of some kind of animal with whose characteristics 
it is in too close affinity. We know that the same 
affinity sometimes seizes upon a soul upon the astral 
plane after death, and detains it in very intimate 
association with an animal form, and also that as the 
result of gross cruelty it is possible to be karmically 
linked to an animal, and to suffer most horribly with 
it. All this was described by Mrs. Besant as follows, 
in a letter to an Indian paper, which was reproduced 
in The Theosophic Gleaner, vol. xv. page 231: 

"The human ego does not reincarnate in an ani- 
mal, for reincarnation means the entering into a 
physical vehicle which thereafter belongs to and is 
controlled by the ego. The penal connection of the 
human ego with an animal form is not reincarna- 
tion; for the animal soul, the proper owner of the 


vehicle, is not dispossessed, nor can the human ego 
control the body to which it is temporarily attached. 
Nor does the human ego become an animal, nor lose 
its human attributes, while undergoing its punish- 
ment. It does not have to evolve up again through 
the successive lower stages of humanity, but on be- 
ing set free at once takes the grade of human form 
to which its previous evolution entitles it. (See the 
cases of Jada Bharata, and of the Rishi's wife set free 
by the touch of Rama's feet — cases which show that 
the popular idea that the man becomes a stone or an 
animal is erroneous.) 

"The facts are these. When an ego, a human soul, 
by vicious appetite or otherwise, forms a very strong 
link of attachment to any type of animal, the astral 
body of such a person shows the corresponding ani- 
mal characteristics, and in the astral world — where 
thoughts and passions are visible as forms — may 
take the animal shapes. Thus, after death, in Preta- 
loka the soul would be embodied in an astral vesture 
resembling, or approximating to, the animal whose 
qualities had been encouraged during earth-life. 
Either at this stage, or when the soul is returning 
towards reincarnation, and is again in the astral 
world, it may in extreme cases be linked by magnetic 
affinity to the astral body of the animal it has ap- 
proached in character, and will then, through the 
animal's astral body, be chained as a prisoner to the 
animal's physical body. Thus chained, it cannot go 
onwards to Svarga if the tie be set up while it is a 
Preta; nor go onwards to human birth if it be de- 
scending towards physical life. It is truly under- 
going penal servitude, chained to an animal; it is 
conscious in the astral world, has its human facul- 
ties, but it cannot control the brute body with which 


it is connected, nor express itself through that body 
on the physical plane. The animal organisation does 
not possess the mechanism needed by the human ego 
for self-expression; it can serve as a jailor, not as a 
vehicle. Further the animal soul is not ejected, but 
is the proper tenant and controller of its own body. 
Shri Shankaracharya hints very clearly at this differ- 
ence between this penal imprisonment and becoming 
a stone, a tree or an animal. Such an imprisonment 
is not reincarnation, and to call it by that name is 
an inaccuracy; hence, while fully conversant with the 
above facts, I should always say that the human ego 
cannot reincarnate as an animal, cannot become an 
animal. This is not the only experience a degraded 
soul may have in the invisible world, of which hints 
may be found in the Hindu Shastras, for . . . the 
statements made are partial and very incomplete. 

"In cases where the ego is not degraded enough 
for absolute imprisonment, but in which the astral 
body is strongly animalised, it may pass on normally 
to human re-birth, but the animal characteristics 
will be largely reproduced in the physical body — as 
witness the 'monsters' who in fact are sometimes 
repulsively animal, pig-faced, dog-faced, etc. Men, 
by yielding to the most bestial vices, entail on them- 
selves penalties more terrible than they for the most 
part realise, for nature's laws work on unbrokenly 
and bring to every man the harvest of the seed he 
sows. The suffering entailed on the conscious human 
entity thus cut off for the time from progress and 
from self-expression is very great, and is of course 
reformatory in its action; it is somewhat similar to 
that endured by other egos, who are linked to bodies 
human in form, but without healthy brains — those 
we call idiots, lunatics, etc. Idiocy and lunacy are the 


results of vices other in kind from those that bring 
about the animal servitude above explained, but the 
ego in these cases also is attached to a form through 
which he cannot express himself." 

These instances are the explanation (or at least 
a part of the explanation) of the widely-spread be- 
lief that a man may under certain circumstances 
reincarnate in an animal body. In Oriental books, 
what we should call three stages of one life are quite 
commonly spoken of as separate lives. It is said 
that when a man dies to the physical plane he is re- 
born at once on the astral plane — meaning simply 
that his specially and wholly astral life begins then; 
and in the same way what we should describe as the 
passing into the heaven-life is called a death on the 
astral plane and a rebirth at the higher level. This 
being so, it is easy to understand that one of the ab- 
normal cases above mentioned might be described as 
'rebirth as an animal/ although it is not at all what 
we should mean by such a term if we employed it in 
Theosophical literature. 

In recent investigations our attention has been 
drawn to a type of case differing somewhat from 
either of the above in that the link with the animal 
is intentionally made by the human being, in order 
to escape from something which he feels to be far 
worse. No doubt this type also was known to the 
ancients, and forms one of the classes referred to in 
the tradition of animal incarnations. Let me en- 
deavour to explain it. 

When a man dies, the etheric part of his physical 
body is withdrawn from the denser part, and shortly 
afterwards (usually within a few hours) the astral 
breaks away from the etheric, and the man's life on 
the astral plane is begun. Normally the man is un- 


conscious until he has freed himself from the etheric, 
and so when he awakens to a new life it is that of 
the astral plane. But there are some people who 
cling so desperately to material existence that their 
astral vehicles cannot altogether separate from the 
etheric, and they awaken still surrounded by etheric 

The etheric body is only a part of the physical, 
and is not in itself a vehicle of consciousness — not a 
body in which a man can live and function. So these 
poor people are in a very unpleasant condition, sus- 
pended as it were between two planes. They are 
shut out from the astral world by the shell of etheric 
matter which surrounds them, and at the same time 
they have lost the physical sense-organs by which 
alone they can come fully into touch with the world 
of ordinary earth-life. 

The result is that they drift about, lonely, dumb 
and terrified, in a thick and gloomy fog, unable to 
hold intercourse with the denizens of either plane, 
glimpsing sometimes other drifting souls in their own 
unfortunate positions, yet powerless to communicate 
even with them, incapable of joining them or of ar- 
resting their aimless wandering as they are swept on 
and engulfed in the rayless night. Now and again 
the etheric veil may part sufficiently to permit one 
glance into lower astral scenes, but that is rarely en- 
couraging, and indeed is often mistaken for a glimpse 
into hell; sometimes for a moment some familiar 
earthly object may be half -seen — usually from pass- 
ing contact with a strong thought-image; but such 
rare and tantalising liftings of the fog only make its 
darkness the more soul-shaking and hopeless when 
it shuts down again. 

All the while the poor soul cannot realise that if 


he would but let go his frenzied grasp on matter he 
would slip at once (through a few moments of uncon- 
sciousness) into the ordinary life of the astral plane. 
But it is just that feeling that he cannot bear — the 
feeling of losing even the miserable half-conscious- 
ness that he has; he clings even to the horrors of 
this grey world of all-embracing fog rather than let 
himself sink into what seems to him a sea of noth- 
ingness and complete extinction. Occasionally, as the 
result of wicked and blasphemous teaching on earth, 
he fears to let himself go lest he should fall into hell. 
In either case, his suffering, his hopelessness and 
utter dreariness are usually extreme. 

Out of this unpleasant but self-imposed predica- 
ment there are several ways. There are members of 
our band of invisible helpers who devote themselves 
ispecially to seeking out souls who are in this painful 
condition, and trying to persuade them to let them- 
selves sink out of it; and there are also many kindly 
people among the dead who take this up as a sort of 
branch of astral slum work. Sometimes such efforts 
are successful, but on the whole few of the victims 
have faith and courage enough to let go their hold 
on what to them is life, poor apology though it be. 
In process of time the etheric shell wears out, and 
the ordinary course of nature reasserts itself in spite 
of their struggles; and sometimes in sheer despair 
they anticipate this result, deciding that annihilation 
is preferable to such a life, and so recklessly letting 
themselves go — the result being an overwhelming but 
pleasant surprise to them. 

In their earlier struggles, however, there are some 
who are so unfortunate as to discover unnatural 
methods of reviving to some extent their touch with 
the physical plane instead of sinking into the astral. 


They can do this readily through a medium, but 
usually the medium's 'spirit-guide' sternly forbids 
them access. He is quite right to do so, for in their 
terror and their great need they are often utterly 
unscrupulous, and they would obsess and even mad- 
den the medium, fighting as a drowning man fights 
for life; and all absolutely uselessly, since the event- 
ual result could only be to prolong their sufferings by 
strengthening that material part of which most of 
all they should get rid. 

Occasionally they contrive to seize upon some one 
who is unconsciously a medium — some sensitive young 
girl, usually; but they can be successful in such an 
attempt only when the ego of the young girl has 
weakened his hold on his vehicles by allowing the in- 
dulgence of undesirable thoughts or passions. When 
the ego's relations with his vehicles are normal and 
healthy he cannot be dispossessed by the frantic efforts 
of such poor souls as we have been describing. 

An animal, however, has no ego behind him, 
though he has a fragment of a group-soul which may 
be said to stand for him in the place of an ego. The 
hold of this fragment upon his vehicles is by no 
means what that of an ego would be, and so it comes 
to pass that what for the moment we may call the 
'soul' of the animal can be dispossessed much more 
easily than that of a man. Sometimes, as I have 
said, the human soul wandering in the grey world 
is unfortunate enough to discover this, and so in his 
madness he obsesses the body of an animal, or if he 
cannot quite drive out the animal soul he contrives to 
gain partial control, so as to share the tenement to 
some extent with the rightful owner. In such a case 
he is once more in touch with the physical plane 
through the animal; he sees through the animal's 


eyes (often a very remarkable experience) and he 
feels any pain inflicted upon the animal; in fact, so 
far as his own consciousness is concerned, he is the 
animal for the time being. 

An old and respected member of one of our English 
Branches related that he had received a visit from a 
man who came to ask for advice under peculiar cir- 
cumstances. The visitor was a man who gave the im- 
pression of having seen better days, but he had fallen 
into such abject poverty that he was compelled to take 
any work that offered, and thus it happened that he 
had become a slaughter-man at a huge abattoir'. He 
declared that he was absolutely unable to execute his 
loathsome task, because when he prepared to slaugh- 
ter the creatures he was constantly checked by cries 
of heart-rending anguish, and by voices which said: 
"Have mercy upon us! Do not strike, for we are 
human beings entangled with these animals, and we 
suffer their pain." So, since he had heard that the 
Theosophical Society occupied itself with unusual and 
uncanny matters, he came to it to ask for advice. 
No doubt this man was somewhat clairaudient, or 
perhaps simply sensitive enough to catch the thoughts 
of these poor creatures who had associated them- 
selves with the animals, and these thoughts natur- 
ally symbolised themselves to him as audible cries 
for mercy. No wonder he was unable to continue 
his occupation. 

This may well give pause to the devourer of flesh, 
to the man who calls the murder of animals 'sport/ 
and most of all to the vivisector; the man who kills 
or tortures an animal may be inflicting unspeaka- 
ble suffering upon a human being. 

I have little doubt that the possibility for a ma- 
terial-minded man of this uncanny blunder is at 


least part of the rationale of the belief of various 
tribes that certain creatures must never be killed 
"lest one should unawares be dispossessing the spirit 
of an ancestor." For the man who thus entangles 
himself with an animal cannot abandon that ani- 
mal's body at will; even if he learnt enough to make 
him desire to withdraw, he could do so only gradu- 
ally and by considerable effort, extending probably 
over many days. It is usually only at the death of 
the animal that he is set free, and even then there 
remains an astral entanglement to shake off. After 
the death of the animal such a soul sometimes 
struggles to obsess another member of the same 
herd, or indeed any other creature whom he can 
seize in his desperation. 

I have noticed that animals obsessed or semi- 
obsessed by human beings are often shunned or 
feared by the rest of the herd, and indeed they are 
themselves often half-maddened by anger and terror 
at the strangeness of the thing and at their own 
helplessness. The animals most commonly seized 
upon seem to be the less developed ones — cattle, 
sheep and swine. More intelligent creatures, such 
as dogs, cats and horses, would presumably not be 
so easily dispossessed — though my attention was 
once drawn to a peculiarly horrible instance in which 
a Catholic priest had in this way attached himself 
to a cat. Then there is the well-known case of the 
monkey of Pandharpur, who betrayed so curious a 
knowledge of Brahmana ceremonies. But in most 
cases the obsessing soul has to be satisfied with 
what he can get, for the effort to overpower even the 
more stupid beasts usually taxes his powers to the 

This obsession of an animal seems to be the 


modern substitute for the awful life of the vam- 
pire. In the time of the fourth root-race, men who 
had a mad clinging to material life sometimes con- 
trived to maintain a low and unspeakably horrible 
form of it in their own physical bodies by absorbing 
living blood from others. In the fifth race that 
happily seems no longer to be possible, but people 
of the same type occasionally fall into this snare of 
animal obsession — bad enough, indubitably, but still 
not so utterly gruesome and disgusting as vampir- 
ism. So even in its very worst and lowest aspects 
the world is improving! 

I have known of isolated cases of two other types 
of animal connection; one in which a wicked dead 
person was in the habit of temporarily seizing the 
body of a certain animal for specific evil purposes, 
and another in which an Oriental magician had, as 
an act of revenge for an insult to his religious 
faith, mesmerically linked his unhappy victim to an 
animal form after death. This could be done only 
if there existed in the victim some weakness through 
which such a magician could seize upon him, and if 
he had intentionally done something which gave him 
a karmic hold upon him. Normally neither of these 
cases would be at all possible. 

All obsessions, whether of a human or an animal 
body, are an evil and a hindrance to the obsessing 
soul, for they temporarily strengthen his hold upon 
the material, and so delay his natural progress into 
the astral life, besides of course making all sorts of 
undesirable karmic links. This grey life, like almost 
all other unpleasant possibilities connected with the 
life after death, can come only as the result of igno- 
rance of the real conditions of that life. The more 
we learn of life and death, the more emphatic ap- 


pears the duty of making every effort to spread the 
knowledge of Theosophy, for it becomes ever clearer 
and clearer that in that knowledge is life and happi- 
ness and progress for all. 

Individualised Animals 

When an individualised animal dies he has a happy 
astral life of considerable length, during which he 
usually remains in the immediate neighbourhood of 
his earthly home and in the closest touch with his 
especial friend and protector — able to see and enjoy 
the society of his friend as fully as ever, though 
himself invisible to the latter, his memory of the past 
being of course just as perfect as it was on earth. 
This will be followed by a still happier period of 
what has sometimes been called dozing consciousness, 
which will last until in some future world the human 
form is assumed. During all this time he is in a 
state analogous to that of a human being in the 
heaven-world, though at a somewhat lower level. He 
creates his own surroundings, even though he may be 
but drowsily conscious of them, and they will un- 
doubtedly include the presence of his earth-friend in 
his very best and most sympathetic mood. For 
every entity which comes into connection with it, 
whether only just entering upon human evolution 
or preparing to pass beyond it, the heaven-world 
means the highest bliss of which that entity is, at his 
level, capable. 


Localisation of States 

The idea of location applies to the sub-planes of the 
astral, but only to a limited extent. Matter of all -the 
stages undoubtedly surrounds us here on the surface 
of the earth, and the living man, employing his astral 
body during the sleep of the physical, comes into 
touch with them all simultaneously, and is able to 
receive impressions from them all. That is, if I, 
using my astral body during sleep, look at another 
living man's astral body, I see the whole of it, includ- 
ing of course matter of every sub-plane. But in the 
case of the average dead man, there has been a re- 
arrangement of the matter of his astral body, -con- 
sequent upon the proceedings of what is commonly 
called the desire-elemental, and broadly speaking only 
one type of astral matter is available to receive im- 

What we usually call 'sight' on the astral plane is 
not really sight at all, for that word implies the use 
of an organ specialised to receive certain vibrations. 
Astral cognition is arranged on an entirely different 
scheme. It has often been said that a man can 'see' 
with any part of his astral body — that is, every par- 
ticle of that body is capable of receiving impressions 
from without and transmitting them to the con- 
sciousness within. But every particle is not capable 
of receiving every possible impression. 

For example, I became cognizant of the lowest 
kind of astral matter only by means of matter of the 
same subdivision existing in my own astral body; 
and I receive its vibrations through the particles of 


that lowest type of matter which happen to be at the 
moment on the surface of my astral body. Since 
during life all the particles of the astral body are 
constantly in motion among themselves, much as 
are the particles of a boiling liquid,' it inevitably 
happens that all the subdivisions of matter are repre- 
sented upon the surface of the astral body, and that 
is why I am able to see all the stages simultaneously. 
The ordinary man after death has for practical pur- 
poses only one type of matter outside, because of the 
concentric shell arrangement; therefore his view of 
the astral world around him is a very imperfect one. 

If he, immured in a shell of matter of the lowest 
stage, looks at a living man's astral body, he can see 
only that part of it which consists of that lowest 
type of matter; but as he has no means of realising 
the limitation of his faculties, he inevitably assumes 
that he sees the whole of the other man's astral 
body, and therefore that the other man is a person 
possessing no characteristics but those eminently un- 
satisfactory ones which alone express themselves 
through matter of that particular subdivision. 

He is living in the midst of all sorts of high in- 
fluences and beautiful thought-forms, but is almost 
entirely unconscious of their existence, because those 
particles of his astral body which could respond to 
their vibrations are carefully shut in where they 
cannot be reached. That lowest type of astral mat- 
ter corresponds to the solid subdivision of physical 
matter, and the astral counterpart of any solid 
physical object is composed of that lowest subdi- 
vision of astral matter — the seventh class of astral 
matter, if we number the sub-planes from above down- 
wards. The astral counterparts of the floor, walls 
and furniture of a room are all of the lowest type of 


astral matter, and consequently the man newly dead 
usually sees these counterparts vividly, and is almost 
entirely unconscious of the vast sea of thought-forms 
which encompasses him, because nearly all those 
forms are built out of combinations of the finer types 
of astral matter. 

In process of time, as the consciousness steadily 
withdraws inward, the shell of this coarsest type of 
matter atrophies and begins to disintegrate, and 
matter of a somewhat higher type is as it were un- 
covered, and becomes the surface through which im- 
pressions can be received. Since this usually hap- 
pens gradually, it means that the man finds the 
counterparts of physical objects growing dimmer 
and dimmer, while the thought-forms become more 
and more vivid to him, so that without necessarily 
moving at all in space, he finds himself living in a 
different world. If while this process is going on he 
should encounter you at intervals he will be sensible 
of what will appear to him as a great improvement 
in your character — not that you have necessarily 
changed, but that he is becoming able to appreciate 
the higher vibrations of that character, and is losing 
the power to receive the lower ones. Your dispo- 
sition may remain just what it was, but the dead 
man, having commenced by seeing only its worst fea- 
tures, will pass it all slowly in review until presently 
he reaches a condition in which only the best and 
highest side of it is within his consciousness. 

This then is what is meant by passing from one sub- 
plane to another — that the man loses sight of one 
part of the wonderful complexity which is the astral 
world, and that another part of it comes into his 
view. It is after all only a repetition on a smaller 
scale of what happens to each one of us as we pass 


from plane to plane. The whole astral world and 
the whole mental world are both of them around us 
here and now, yet so long as our consciousness is 
focussed in the physical brain we are blankly un- 
conscious of them. At death the consciousness is 
transferred to the astral body, and at once we find 
ourselves seeing the astral part of our world, having 
lost sight of the physical. When later on we lose the 
astral body in turn, and live in the mental body, we 
are then conscious (though only partially) of the 
mental part of our world, and have altogether lost 
for the time both the astral and the physical. Just 
as it is possible for the man living on the astral plane 
to defy the desire-elemental and insist upon keeping 
the particles of his astral body in constant motion, 
just as they were during his physical life, so it is 
possible for the man still in physical life to train 
himself to have at his command the physical and 
astral and mental consciousness practically simul- 
taneously; but this means considerable advancement. 
To sum up the foregoing, then: 'rising higher' in 
the ordinary spiritualistic sense is simply raising 
the consciousness from one stage of the astral to an- 
other, the matter of the astral body having in the 
first place been arranged after death by the desire- 
elemental. In such a case the consciousness can act 
only through the shell of matter which lies outer- 
most, and consequently at first the dead man is con- 
fined to the perception of the lowest subplane, and 
can only become conscious of a higher sub-plane when 
that outer coating of denser matter is in great part 
worn away. Consequently such a man in the earlier 
part of his post-mortem existence is naturally shut 
off from all the best and pleasantest part of astral 
life; and when he escapes from that condition he 
may in one sense be said to have risen higher. 


A Theosophist, who comprehends the conditions of 
the astral plane, altogether declines to permit the re- 
arrangement of his astral body by the desire-elemen- 
tal in the first place; or if that should happen during 
the momentary unconsciousness which immediately 
succeeds death, those of us who are trying to help 
the man immediately break up the elemental's ar- 
rangement and restore the astral body to exactly the 
condition in which it was during life, with ail its 
varieties of matter mingled in the natural way, so 
that the dead man can perceive the whole of the astral 
plane, instead of only one subdivision of it. In this 
way his astral life is perfect from the first, and he 
can be a much more useful person than if he were 
confined to the consciousness of one subdivision only. 

Still, as I explained in The Inner Life, Vol. I, in the 
chapter on spheres, there is just this much of truth be- 
hind the idea of location as connected with the sub- 
planes. Here on the surface of the earth we are in 
presence of matter in the solid, liquid, gaseous and 
etheric conditions. But it is undoubtedly true that, 
broadly speaking, the solid matter forms the basis, 
that the liquid matter is usually resting upon it, and 
that the gaseous matter rests upon both of these 
lower forms. There is a certain amount of solid 
matter and a great deal of liquid matter floating in 
the air above us, but still it remains broadly true 
that the zone of solid matter is limited by the sur- 
face of the earth, and the zone of liquid matter by 
the upper surface of the clouds, while the zone of 
gaseous matter extends a great many miles above 
that, and the zone of specialised etheric matter a great 
deal farther still. So that although all classes of 
matter exist around us here, we might yet say that 
in one sense each has a zone of its own, and that in 


each case the zone of a finer type of matter extends 
somewhat farther from the centre of the earth than 
the zone of the denser type of matter next below it. 

A similar condition exists with regard to astral 
matter. All possible kinds of it exist here close about 
us, and the great majority of the denizens of the 
astral world spend most of their lives comparatively 
near to the surface of the physical earth; but as they 
withdraw into themselves, and their consciousness 
touches the higher types of matter, they find it easier 
and more natural than before to soar away from 
that surface into regions where there are fewer dis- 
turbing currents. I was once brought into touch 
with the case of a dead man who informed a friend 
of mine, during a series of spiritualistic seances, 
that he frequently found himself about five hundred 
miles above the surface of the earth. In this case 
the questioner was one who was well versed in occult- 
ism, and who would therefore know well how to con- 
duct his enquiries and the investigations of his friend 
on the other side intelligently and scientifically; so 
that there might well be some truth in his friend's 

The finer types of astral matter extend almost to 
the orbit of the moon, whence the name that the 
Greeks gave to the astral plane — the sublunar world. 
In fact, so nearly does the limit of astral matter 
coincide with that orbit, that the astral envelopes of 
the moon and the earth usually touch one another 
at perigee, but not at apogee. I knew, likewise, of a 
case in which a dead man reached the moon, but 
could not then return. That was because the con- 
tinuity of astral matter failed him — the tide of 
space had flowed in between, as it were, and he had 
to wait until communication was re-established by 
the approach of the satellite to its primary. 


Heaven-life Conditions 

The principal difficulty in understanding the con- 
ditions of the heaven-world comes from our in- 
veterate habit of thinking of the personality as the 
man. If two friends are bound by ties of affection, 
we must try to remember that the bond is between 
the souls and not the bodies — that they are friends 
now on earth because in quite different bodies they 
have known and loved each other perhaps for thou- 
sands of years. That fact draws their physical 
bodies together on this plane, but it does not enable 
them to understand more of one another than their 
physical capabilities permit; and further, each 
wears three heavy veils, in the shape of the mental, 
astral and physical bodies, to conceal his real self 
from the other. 

When one of them dies he passes on to the astral 
plane, and there he meets his living friend face to 
face during the sleep of the latter. Even already 
he can see somewhat more of his friend than before, 
because for each of them, during those hours of 
sleep, the heaviest of the three veils has been with- 
drawn. The dead man is still dealing with the per- 
sonality of his friend only, and therefore if some 
great sorrow should fall upon the waking life of 
that friend, it would inevitably be reflected in his 
astral life, and the dead man would perceive it. 
For our sleeping and waking lives are in reality but 
one, and during our sleep we are aware of that fact, 
and have the continuous memory of both open be- 
fore us. Ycu will see, therefore, that the astral 


body of his living friend (with which the dead man 
is dealing) is the astral body of the personality, and 
he is therefore fully conscious of what is happening 
to that personality. 

When the heaven-world is reached all this is 
changed. The dead man is then functioning in his 
mental body — the same mental body which he has used 
during his past earth-life; but he does not meet there 
the mental body which his friend is using during 
life. On the contrary, the dead man himself by his 
thought builds for his friend an entirely separate 
mental body, and it is the ego of his friend which 
ensouls it, working from its own level and from the 
causal body. This is an additional opportunity for 
mental-plane activity for the friend, and is entirely 
separate in every way from the personality of his 
physical life. 

It is not possible for one man to ensoul more than 
one physical body at one time, but it is quite possible 
for him to ensoul simultaneously any number of the 
thought-forms which other people may make of him 
on the mental plane in the course of their heaven- 
life. I think it is a misunderstanding of this fact 
which had led some to think that several physical 
bodies may be incarnations of one man. 

You will see, therefore, that any sorrow or trouble 
which may fall upon the personality of the living 
man, and may conceivably influence his mental body, 
will not in the least affect his other thought-form 
which his ego is using as an additional mental body. 
If in that manifestation he knows at all of such sor- 
row or trouble, he will regard it as he would from 
the causal body — that is to say, it will not be to him 
a sorrow or trouble at all, but only a lesson, or the 
working out of some karma. There is no delusion at 


all in this view of his, because he is seeing the matter 
as it really is, from the point of view of the ego on 
his own plane. It is our lower personal view that is 
the delusion, because we see sorrow and trouble where 
in reality there are only the steps on our upward 

The two friends may know far more of each other 
at that level, because each has now only one veil, 
that of the mental body, cast over his indi- 
viduality ; but there is still that veil. If the dead man 
has known only one side of his friend during life, it 
will be only through that side that the friend can ex- 
press himself in the heaven-world. He can express 
that side of himself much more fully and satis- 
factorily than ever before; but he is largely confined 
to that side. Still, it is a fuller expression than the 
dead man has ever been able to see upon the lower 
planes. He by no means forgets that there is such 
a thing as suffering, because he remembers clearly 
his past life; but he understands now many things 
that were not clear when he was on the physical 
plane, and the delight of the present is for him so 
great that sorrow seems to him almost like a dream. 

It is asked how we who still live on earth con- 
verse with our friends in heaven; if by we you 
mean our personality, that does not converse with 
friends in heaven. The real ego does do so, as has 
been said, but in the veil of this personality we 
know nothing of that. 

Suppose that a good Catholic mother died, who 
dearly loved her daughter, and that after the mother 
had reached the heaven-world, her daughter em- 
braced Theosophy. The mother would go on imagin- 
ing her daughter as merely orthodox; would she 
not in this be under a delusion? Yes, she would, 


for this is an instance of one of the possible limita- 
tions to which I have previously referred. If the 
mother could see only such of her daughter's thought 
as could be expressed by orthodox ideas, there would 
naturally be points in the new revelation which had 
come to the daughter which the mother would be 
little able to grasp. But in so far as the ego of the 
daughter profited by what the personality had learnt, 
there would be a tendency on her part gradually to 
widen out and perfect the conception of the mother, 
but always along the lines to which the mother was 
accustomed. There would be no sense of difference 
of opinion, and no avoidance of subjects of religion. 

You will understand that I am speaking here of 
the ordinary person; in the case of a more advanced 
man who was already fully conscious in the causal 
body, he would put himself down consciously into 
the thought-form provided for him by a friend in 
the heaven-world, as into an additional mental 
body, and work through it with definite intention; 
so that if such a man should acquire additional 
knowledge he could directly and intentionally com- 
municate it to that friend. In this way the Masters 
work on such of their pupils as take the heaven- 
life, and alter their characters immensely. 

A man's condition in the heaven-life depends upon 
the amount of spiritual force in him. Of two people 
of the same class or type the more spiritual would 
naturally remain a longer time; but it must be 
borne in mind that the force may be used up quickly 
or slowly according to the necessities of each man's 
evolution. Those who have devoted themselves es- 
pecially to the work of serving the Great Ones, and 
through them humanity, are likely in this respect to 
have experiences differing somewhat from the ordi- 


nary. It is evident that our Masters have already, 
many millennia ago, formed a special band of 
servers and helpers from those who have offered 
themselves for such work, and They use this body 
of men as a kind of regiment of pioneers to be sent 
wherever special work of that kind is needed. 

Those who have read the lives of Alcyone, as pub- 
lished in The Theosophist, will realise that the hero 
of that remarkable story is a member of that band 
— or perhaps we should rather say of one of those 
bands; and for that reason it will be found that 
over and over again the same set of people come 
together in all sorts of different places, in their suc- 
cessive incarnations. It is obvious that in a group of 
a hundred people there must be many divergences; 
some of them will assuredly generate more spiritual 
force than others, and their karma would naturally 
be such as to take them into differing surroundings, 
yet the one great fact that they are devoted to service 
overpowers all these considerations, and they are 
brought together in order that they may be utilised as 
a whole. 

Be sure that in this there is no injustice, and that 
no one of them, for this or any other reason, es- 
capes one jot of the karma which is legitimately due 
to him. Indeed, those who offer themselves for ser- 
vice not infrequently suffer considerably in the course 
of that service — sometimes because it is necessary 
that their past karma should be cleared up quickly, 
in order that they may be free to do higher work with- 
out any hindrance from it, and in other cases because 
their work may have made it impossible for them to 
reap life after life the karma that would otherwise 
have come to them, and so a considerable accumula- 
tion may descend upon them at once in some gigan- 


tic catastrophe. Instances of the working of both 
these methods may be found in the lives of Alcyone. 

In the case of the great bulk of humanity there 
is no special interference from without, and the 
heaven-life of each works itself out at whatever may be 
its ordinary rate. Naturally this difference in the 
time of working out involves also a difference of in- 
tensity which is shown by a greater or less brilli- 
ancy in the light of the mental body. The more 
developed man, especially if he has before him the 
idea of service, usually generates karma during his 
heaven-life, and thus he may modify it even while it 
is in progress. 

It is true that Madame Blavatsky states in The Key 
to Theosophy that it is impossible for a materialist to 
have any heaven-life, as he had not while on earth 
believed in any such condition; but it seems probable 
that she was employing the word materialist in a 
more restricted sense than that in which it is gener- 
ally used, for in the same volume she also asserts 
that for them no conscious life after death is possible 
at all, whereas it is a matter of common knowledge 
among those whose nightly work lies upon the astral 
plane that many of those whom we usually call 
materialists are to be met with there, and are cer- 
tainly not unconscious. 

For example, a prominent materialist intimately 
known to one of our members was not long ago dis- 
covered by his friend in the highest subdivision of 
the astral world, where he had surrounded himself 
with his books and was continuing his studies almost 
as he might have done on earth. On being ques- 
tioned by his friend he readily admitted that the 
theories which he had held while on earth were con- 
futed by the irresistible logic of facts, but his own 


agnostic tendencies were still strong enough to make 
him unwilling to accept what his friend told him as 
to the existence of the still higher spiritual state 
of the heaven-world. Yet there was certainly much in 
this man's character which could find its full result 
only in the heaven-world, and since his entire disbelief 
in any life after death has not prevented his astral 
experience, there seems no reason to suppose that it 
can check the due working out of the higher forces 
in him upon the mental plane. 

We constantly find down here that nature makes 
no allowance for our ignorance of her laws; if, under 
an impression that fire does not burn, a man puts 
his hand into a flame, he is speedily convinced of 
his error. In the same way a man's disbelief in a 
future existence does not affect the facts of 
nature, and in some cases at least he simply finds 
out after death that he was under a mistake. The 
kind of materialism referred to by Madame Blavatsky 
was probably something much coarser and more 
aggressive than ordinary agnosticism — something 
which would render it exceedingly unlikely that a 
man who held it would have any qualities requiring a 
heaven-life in which to work themselves out; but no 
such case as that has yet come under our observa- 

Karma in the Heaven Life 

In the earlier days of our study of Theosophy we 
were led to look upon all other worlds but the physi- 
cal as almost exclusively the theatre of results and 


not of causes. It was supposed that man spent his 
physical life to a large extent in generating karma, 
and his existence on the astral and mental planes in 
working it out, and the suggestion that a man could 
by any means make any more karma, even on the 
astral plane, was regarded as almost heretical. 

As the years rolled on and some of us became able 
to study astral conditions at first-hand, it became ob- 
vious that this idea had been an error, since it was 
manifestly possible for us in working on that plane to 
performs actions of various sorts which produced far- 
reaching results. We soon saw also that not only the 
man still attached to a physical body could produce 
these results, but that they were equally within the 
power of one who had cast off that vehicle. We found 
that any developed man is in every way quite as 
active during his astral life after physical death as 
during his physical life before it; that he can un- 
questionably help or hinder not only his own progress 
but that of others quite as much after death as be- 
fore, and consequently that he is all the time gen- 
erating karma of the greatest importance. 

This modified view of after-death conditions gradu- 
ally found its way into our literature, and may be 
considered now as universally accepted by all Theoso- 
phists. But for many years after we had corrected 
our misconceptions upon this important point, we 
still held to the idea that in the heaven-world at 
least man could do practically nothing but enjoy the 
conditions which he had made for himself during 
the previous stages of his existence. Broadly speak- 
ing, this is true for the ordinary man, though we 
do not always realize that even in the course of that 
enjoyment the inhabitant of the heaven- word is 
affecting others, and therefore producing results. 


One who has succeeded in raising his consciousness 
to the level of the causal body has already unified the 
higher and lower selves (to use the older termino- 
logy), and to him the statements made as to average 
humanity naturally do not apply. Such an one has 
the consciousness of the ego at his disposal during 
the whole of his physical life, and that is not at all 
affected by the death of the physical body, nor even 
by the second and third deaths in which he leaves 
behind him the astral and the mental bodies respect- 
ively. For him the whole of that series of incarna- 
tions is only one long life, and what we call an 
incarnation is to him a day in that life. All through 
his human evolution his consciousness is fully active, 
and it naturally follows that he is making karma 
just as much at one period of it as at another; and 
while his condition at any one moment is the result 
of the causes which he has set in motion in the past, 
there is no instant at which he is not modifying his 
conditions by the exercise of thought and will. 

Men who have reached that level are at present 
rare ; but there are others who possess a similar power 
in a minor degree. Every human being, after he has 
passed through his life on the astral and lower mental 
planes, has a momentary flash of the consciousness 
of the ego, in which he sees his last life as a whole, 
and gathers from it the impression of success or 
failure in the work which it was meant to do; and 
along with this he has also a forecast of the life 
before him, with the knowledge of the general lesson 
which that is to teach, or the specific progress 
which he is intended to make in it. Only very slowly 
does the ego awaken to the value of these glimpses, but 
when he comes to understand them he naturally be- 
gins to make use of them. 


Thus by imperceptible degrees he arrives at a stage 
in his evolution when this glimpse is no longer mo- 
mentary — when he is able to consider the question 
much more fully, and to devote some time to his plans 
for the life which lies before him. His consciousness 
gradually increases, and he comes to have an appreci- 
able life on the higher levels of the mental plane each 
time that he touches them. When he arrives at this 
stage he soon finds that he is one among a vast 
number of other egos, and that he can do something 
else with his life among them besides making plans 
for his own future. He may and does live a con- 
scious life among his peers, in the course of which 
he influences them in many ways, and is himself in- 
fluenced in turn. Here therefore is a possibility of 
making karma, and of making it on a scale which is 
entirely out of his reach on these lower planes, for 
every thought on those higher mental levels has a 
force quite out of proportion to that of our limited 
thought during physical life. 

This of which I am speaking is quite distinct from 
the consciousness which comes with the unifying of 
the higher and lower selves. When that feat has been 
performed the man's consciousness resides in the ego 
all the time, and from that ego it plays through 
whatever vehicle he may happen to be using. But in 
the case of a man who has not yet achieved that 
union the consciousness of the ego on his own plane 
comes into activity only when he is no longer ham- 
pered by any lower vehicles, and exists only until he 
puts himself down again into incarnation ; for as soon 
as he takes up a lower body his consciousness can 
manifest for the time only through that body. 

Short of that perfect consciousness of the ego, 
there are stages of development which it is necessary 


to note. The ordinary 'man in the street' has usu- 
ally no definite and reliable consciousness outside of 
the physical plane. His astral body may be fully de- 
veloped and quite capable of being used as a vehicle 
in any and every way; yet he is probably not in 
the habit of so using it, and therefore his experi- 
ences of the astral world are of a vague and uncer- 
tain character. He may sometimes remember one of 
them vividly, but on the whole the time of the sleep 
of the physical body is for him a blank. 

The next stage beyond this is that of the gradual 
development of the habit of using the astral body, 
accompanied as time goes on by some recollection of 
what is done in it. The end of this is the open- 
ing of the astral consciousness, though usually that 
comes only as the result of definite efforts along the 
line of meditation. When this opening is attained the 
man's consciousness is continuous through night and 
day, and up to the end of the astral life, so that he 
avoids the usual temporary suspension of conscious- 
ness at the death of the physical body. 

The next stage beyond this — a long stage usually — 
is the development of the consciousness of the mental 
body, and when that is achieved, each personality re- 
mains conscious from physical birth until the end of 
its life in the heaven-world. But even then it is 
only the consciousness of the personality, and not yet 
of the ego, and still another step must be taken be- 
fore complete unification is attained. 

It is clear that men who have reached any of 
these stages are making karma as far as their con- 
sciousness reaches; but what as to the ordinary man, 
who has not yet quite succeeded in linking even the 
astral consciousness to the physical? In so far as he 
has any activities on the astral plane during sleep, he 


must be producing results. If he feels, even blindly, 
love and affection towards certain persons, and goes 
out towards them during sleep with vague thoughts of 
good-will, he must inevitably affect them to a certain 
extent, and the effect must be a good one. Therefore 
there is no possibility of avoiding a reaction upon 
himself which will also be good. The same is true 
if the feeling unfortunately be one of dislike or of 
active hatred, and the result for him in that case can- 
not but be painful. 

When, after death, he lives entirely in the astral 
world, his consciousness is usually much more definite 
than it has been during the sleep of his physical 
body, and he is correspondingly better able to think 
and act with determination in regard to other men, 
and so his opportunities of making good or bad karma 
are the greater. But when such a man ends his 
astral life and passes into the heaven-world he reaches 
a condition where activity is no longer possible for 
him. He has encouraged activities in his mental 
body, during life, in certain directions only, and now 
that he comes to live entirely in that mental body he 
finds himself enclosed within it as in a tower, shut 
off from the world around him and able to look out 
upon it only through the windows in it which he 
has opened by means of those activities. 

Through those windows the mighty forces of the 
plane play upon him; he responds to them and leads 
a life of vivid joy — which is, however, confined to 
those particular lines. But, though he is thus shut 
away from the full enjoyment of the possibilities of 
the mental world, it must not be supposed that he is 
in the slightest degree conscious of any curtailment of 
his activities or his feelings. He is, on the contrary, 
filled with bliss to the very utmost of which he is 


capable, and it is to him incredible that there can 
be any greater joy than that which he is himself 
experiencing. True, he has shut himself in within 
certain limits; Irut he is quite unconscious of those 
limits, and he has all that he can possibly desire or 
think of within them. He has surrounded himself 
with images of his friends, so that through these 
images he is actually in closer connection with them 
than he has ever been on any other plane. 

Let us see then what are his possibilities for mak- 
ing karma in this curiously limited life — limited, we 
must remember, from the point of view of the men- 
tal world only, for along the lines of its special direc- 
tions its possibilities are far greater than those of 
physical life. A man under such conditions cannot 
originate a fresh line of affection or devotion, but his 
affection and devotion along the lines which he has 
already decided will be distinctly much more powerful 
than they ever could have been while he was labour- 
ing under the heavy limitations of the physical body. 

An ordinary man such as we have described is, 
quite unintentionally and unconsciously to himself, 
producing three separate results, during the whole of 
his heaven-life. Let us take as an example the emo- 
tion of affection. He feels this strongly for certain 
friends, and it is probable that even after his death 
those friends still think of him with kindly remem- 
brance, and thus his memory is not without its effect 
even upon their personalities. But entirely apart from 
this is the effect to which I have above referred — 
that he makes an image of each friend and, in 
so doing, draws forth a strong response from the ego 
of that friend. The affection which he pours upon 
that ego (manifesting through the thought-form which 
he has made for it) is a mighty power for good, 


which bears no inconsiderable part in the evolution 
of that ego. It evokes from him an amount of affec- 
tion which would not otherwise be stirred up in him; 
and the steady intensification of that most admirable 
quality throughout the centuries of the heaven-life 
raises the friend considerably in the scale of evolu- 
tion. To do this for another ego is unquestionably 
an act which generates karma, even though the man 
who has set all this machinery in motion has done 
30 uncomprehendingly. 

Occasionally the action of such a force upon the 
ego of a surviving friend may manifest itself even in 
the personality of that friend upon the physical plane. 
The action is upon the ego through the special 
thought-form; but the personality of the surviving 
friend in this world is a manifestation of the same 
ego, and if the ego be considerably modified it is at 
least possible that that modification may show itself 
in the physical manifestation on this lower plane. It 
may be asked why the thought of the man in the 
heaven-world should not act upon his friend precisely 
as does the thought of a living man — why the vibra- 
tions sent forth from his mental body cannot strike 
directly upon the mental body of his friend, and why 
it should not generate a thought-form which would 
travel through space and attach itself to his friend 
in the ordinary way. If he were moving freely and 
consciously about the mental plane that is precisely 
what would happen, but the reason that it does not 
lies in the peculiar condition of the man in the heaven- 

The man in the heaven-life has shut himself out abso- 
lutely from the rest of the world — from the mental 
plane as much as from the lower levels, and he is 
living inside the shell of his own thoughts. If his 


thoughts could reach us in the ordinary way, ours 
could reach him in precisely the same way, but we 
know that that is not so. The thought-form which 
he makes of his friend is within his own shell, and 
therefore he can act upon it; and, since the ego 
of the friend has poured himself down into that 
thought-form, the force reaches the ego of the friend 
in that way, and from that ego it may, as we have 
said, to some extent manifest itself even in the person- 
ality of the friend down here. The shell is as re- 
gards the mental plane much like the shell of an egg 
on the physical plane. The only way to get any- 
thing into the shell of an egg, without breaking it, 
would be to pour it in from the fourth dimension, or 
to find a force whose vibrations are sufficiently fine 
to penetrate between the particles of the shell with- 
out disturbing them. This is true also of this 
mental shell; it cannot be penetrated by any vibra- 
tions of matter of its own level, but the finer vibra- 
tions which belong to the ego can pass through it 
without disturbing it in the least; so that it can be 
acted upon freely from above, but not from below. 

The thought-form made by the dead man may be 
considered as a kind of additional artificial mental 
body, made for and presented to the friend upon 
whom the love is being poured forth. The person- 
ality down here knows nothing of this, but the ego 
is fully conscious of it and plunges down into it with 
delight and avidity, realising incidentally that this 
affords him an additional opportunity of manifesta- 
tion, and therefore of evolution. From this it follows 
that the man who has made himself generally be- 
loved — the man who has many real friends — will 
evolve with far greater rapidity than a more ordi- 
nary man; and this again is obviously the karma of 


his development within himself of the qualities which 
make him so lovable. 

So much for the direct result of his action upon 
individuals; but there are also two aspects of its gen- 
eral action which must not be ignored. A man who 
thus pours out a great flood of affection, and 
evokes in response other floods from his friends, is 
distinctly improving the mental atmosphere in his 
neighborhood. It is good for the world and for the 
humanity evolving in it that its mental atmosphere 
should thus be charged with such feelings, for they 
play upon all its inhabitants — devas, men, animals, 
plants — and on every one of these widely different 
forms of life they have their influence, and always 
an influence for good. 

The second and more important of the results pro- 
duced for the world at large will be readily com- 
prehensible to those who have studied the book on 
Thought-forms, as an attempt is there made to indi- 
cate the outpouring which flows down from the LOGOS 
in response to a thought of unselfish devotion. It 
has often been explained that such response comes 
not only to the individual who originated the thought, 
but that it also helps to fill the reservoir of spiritual 
force, which is held by the Nirmanakaya at the dis- 
posal of the Masters of Wisdom and their pupils, to 
be used for the helping of mankind. What is true 
of devotion is true also of unselfish affection, and if 
every outrush of such affection or devotion during 
the comparatively limited physical life produces so 
magnificent a result, it is easy to see that a far 
stronger outrush, sustained through a period of per- 
haps a thousand years, will make to that reservoir 
a really considerable contribution, and this will 
bring to the world a benefit which is not calculable 


in any terms that we can use upon the physical plane. 
So it is clear that while a man's power for good 
augments as his consciousness in these higher worlds 
increases, even the quite ordinary man, who has as 
yet no special development of consciousness, is 
nevertheless capable of doing an enormous amount of 
good during his sojourn upon the higher planes. 
During his long stay in the heaven-world he may 
benefit his fellow-men, and so make a large amount 
of good karma for himself; but, in order to do that, 
he must be a man of unselfish love or unselfish de- 
votion. It is this quality of unselfishness, of self- 
forgetfulness, which puts the power into his hands; 
and that, therefore, is the virtue which every man 
must cultivate now in full consciousness, in order 
that after death he may use to the best advantage 
those far longer periods whose conditions it is now 
so impossible for him to realize. 

J^eccmh J^ecium 

^strai Pork 


Invisible Helpers 

EOPLE often write to us, applying to be 
admitted to the band of invisible help- 
ers, and asking what preparation is neces- 
sary- Those who desire to take up this 
work should familiarise themselves thor- 
oughly with the book written under that title, 
and should especially take care to develope within 
themselves the qualifications which are there de- 
scribed. I have little to add to what I have there 
written, except that I should advise every one who 
wishes to take up work on the astral plane to learn 
as much as he can beforehand of the conditions of 
life on that plane. 

In the astral life we are absolutely the same per- 
sons as we are down here, but with certain limita- 
tions removed. Our interests and activities on that 
plane resemble those on the physical; a student is 
still studious; an idle person is still idle; an active 
helper on the physical plane is still a helper there. 
Some people still gossip there just as venomously 
as ever, and are still continuing to make just the 
same bad karma by doing so. Most dead people 
haunt for a long time the places to which they have 
been accustomed in life. Many a man hovers round 
his ancestral home, and continues daily to visit the 


astral counterpart of the temple which he used to 
support. Others drift round and make pilgrimages, 
without trouble or expense, to all the great shrines 
which during life they have in vain wished to visit. 

There is perfect continuity in the astral life. That 
life is in many ways much more real than this, or at 
least much nearer to reality, and this physical exist- 
ence is only a series of breaks in it during which our 
activity is greatly limited and our consciousness but 
partially operative. To most of us in this lower 
life the night seems a blank, and in the morning we 
remember nothing of what we have done; but we 
must not therefore suppose that we are equally dense 
on the astral plane. That wider consciousness fully 
includes this, and every night we remember vividly 
not only what we did on all previous nights, but 
also all that we have done on the intermediate days. 
It is the physical brain which is dull and clogged, and 
it is upon return to it that we lose our memory of 
all except that with which it has been directly con- 
cerned. The astral life is much more vivid and its 
emotions are far stronger than any that we know 
down here. What we ordinarily call an emotion is 
only the comparatively small fragment of one which 
remains after the greater part of it has been ex- 
hausted in setting in motion the clumsy physical par- 
ticles, so it is not difficult to see how far more in- 
tense and real that other life must be. 

And yet, although this is quite true, and true cf 
everybody, ordinary people usually do very little in 
the way of real work on the astral plane. They do 
not know, in fact, that they can work, and even if 
they did know they would probably see no particu- 
lar reason why they should. A man may spend a 
very enjoyable time in the astral world, just drifting 


about and experiencing various pleasurable emotions. 
That seems to most people the only thing to do, and 
it needs a powerful motive to rouse them out of that, 
and make them take the trouble of devoting their 
time to the helping of others. We must admit that 
for the ordinary man this motive does not exist; 
but when we have begun to study Theosophy, and 
in that way learn the course of evolution and the 
purpose of things, there arises within us an earnest 
desire to help forward that evolution, to accomplish 
that purpose, and to put our fellow-men in the way 
of understanding it also, in order that thereby their 
troubles may be lightened arid the path of their 
progress made easier. 

Now, when a man thus awakens to his duty, how 
is he to set about it? We are all of us capable of 
such work, to a greater or less extent, though 
probably not in the habit of doing it. All people of 
ordinary culture and development have their astral 
bodies in working order, just as all reasonably 
healthy people possess the necessary muscles and the 
necessary strength in them to enable them to swim; 
but if they have not learnt how to use them they will 
need a certain amount of instruction before they 
can usefully or even safely take to the water. The 
difficulty with the ordinary person is not that the 
astral body cannot act, but that for thousands of 
years that body has been accustomed to being set in 
motion only by impressions received from below 
through the physical vehicle, so that men do not 
realise that the astral body can work on its own 
plane and on its own account, and that the will can 
act upon it directly. People remain 'unawake' 
astrally because they get into the habit of waiting 
for the familiar physical vibrations to call out their 
astral activity. 


There are several ways in which a man may be- 
gin to help. Suppose, for example, that a relation or 
friend dies. In order to reach and to help him dur- 
ing sleep, all that is necessary is to think of him 
before retiring to rest, with the resolve to give him 
whatever assistance he most needs. We do not need 
any help in order to find him, or to communicate 
with him. We must try to understand that as soon 
as we leave the physical body at night we stand side 
by side with a departed friend, exactly as we did 
when he was with us on the physical plane. One 
great thing to remember is the necessity of curbing 
all sorrow for the so-called dead, because it cannot 
but react upon him. 

If a man allows himself to despair about the dead, 
the feeling of despair will affect them very strongly, 
for emotions play through the astral body, and con- 
sequently those who are living in their astral vehicles 
are much more readily and deeply influenced by 
them than people who have a physical body to deaden 
their perceptions. The dead can see us, but it is our 
astral body that they see; consequently they are at 
once aware of our emotions, but not necessarily of 
the details of our physical condition. They know 
whether we are happy or miserable, but not what 
book we are reading, for example. The emotion is 
obvious to them, but not necessarily the thought 
which causes it. The dead man carries on with him 
his affections and hatreds; he knows his old friends 
when he meets them, and he also often forms new 
friendships among new companions whom he meets 
for the first time on the astral plane. 

Not only must we avoid sorrow, but also excite- 
ment of any kind. The invisible helper must above 
all things keep perfectly calm. I have known a 


worthy lady who was full of the most earnest desire 
to help, and in her eagerness to do so keyed herself 
up into a tremendous state of excitement. Now, ex- 
citement shows itself in the astral body in great in- 
crease of size, violent vibration and the flashing 
forth of fiery colours. So the newly-dead person, 
who was quite unused to astral surroundings, and 
consequently in a state of timidity and nervousness, 
was horrified to see a huge flaming, flashing sphere 
come rushing at him with evident intention. Natur- 
ally he took this for the theological devil in propria 
persona, and fled shrieking before it to the ends of 
the earth, though for a long time it increased his 
terror by persistently following him. 

One case in which it is often possible for even a 
beginner to make himself useful is that of some 
friend or neighbour who is known to be about to die. 
If one has access to him physically, and if his illness 
is of a nature which makes it possible to discuss with 
him the conditions of death and of its after-states, 
a little rational explanation of these will often very 
greatly relieve his mind and lighten his burdens. 
Indeed, the mere meeting with a person who speaks 
confidently and cheerfully about the life beyond the 
grave is frequently the greatest consolation to one 
who finds himself approaching it. 

If, however, for any reason, this physical com- 
munication is impossible, much may be done during 
sleep by acting upon the dying man from the astral 
plane. An untrained person seeking to give such 
help should follow the rules laid down in our books; 
he should fix the intention of aiding that particular 
person in his mind before going to sleep, and he 
should even decide as far as possible upon the argu- 
ments which should be presented and even the very 


words which should be used, for the more precise 
and definite the resolution is made while awake, the 
more certain it is to be faithfully and accurately 
carried out in the astral body during sleep. 

The explanation to be given to the sick man is 
necessarily the same in both cases. The main object 
of the helper is to calm and encourage the sufferer, 
to induce him to realise that death is a perfectly 
natural and usually an easy process, and in no case 
a formidable or terrible leap into an unknown abyss. 
The nature of the astral world, the way in which a 
man ought to order his life in it if he wishes to 
make the best of it, and the preparation necessary 
for progress toward the heaven-world which lies be- 
yond; all these should be gradually explained by the 
helper to the dying man. The helper should always 
remember that his own attitude and state of mind 
produces even more effect than his argument or his 
advice, and consequently he must be exceedingly care- 
ful to approach his task with the greatest calmness 
and confidence. If the helper himself is in a con- 
dition of nervous excitement he is quite likely to do 
more harm than good, as did the poor lady whom I 
have just mentioned. 

The assistance offered should be continued after 
death. There will be a certain period of uncon- 
sciousness then, but it may last only for a moment, 
though often the moment expands into a few minutes, 
or several hours, and sometimes even into many days 
or weeks. A trained pupil naturally observes for him- 
self the condition of the 'dead' man's conscious- 
ness and regulates his assistance accordingly; the 
untrained man will do well to offer such assistance 
immediately after death, and also to hold himself in 
readiness to give it for several succeeding nights, in 


order that he may not fail to be at hand when his 
services are needed. So many diverse circumstances 
affect the duration of this period of unconscious- 
ness that it is scarcely possible to lay down any 
general rule in the matter. 

We should at least determine each night to com- 
fort someone who is in trouble, and if we know the 
exact nature of the trouble we must do our best to 
adapt our measures to the needs of the case. If the 
sufferer be weak and exhausted, the helper should 
use his will to pour into him physical strength. If, 
on the other hand, he is excited or hysterical, the 
helper should endeavour to enfold him in a special 
aura of calm and gentleness — wrap him up, as it were 
in a strong thought-form of peace and harmony, 
just as one would wrap up a person in a blanket. 

It is often difficult for one who tries to help to 
believe that he can have been successful, when he 
wakes in the morning and remembers nothing what- 
ever of what has taken place. As a matter of fact 
some measure of success is absolutely certain, and 
as the helper goes on with his work he will often 
receive cheering little indications that he is pro- 
ducing definite results in spite of his lack of memory. 

Many a member has set himself to try this, and 
for a long time has known nothing as to results, 
until one day it has happened to him to meet physi- 
cally the person whom he has been trying to assist, 
and to be much comforted to see the improvement in 
him. Sometimes it happens that the friend dates 
the commencement of his recovery from a particular 
night on which he had a pleasant or a remarkable 
dream; and the helper is startled when he remem- 
bers that it was on that very night that he made a 
specially determined effort to help that man. The 


first time that this happens, the helper probably per- 
suades himself that it is a mere accident; but when 
a sufficient number of coincidences have accumulated 
he begins to see that there is something more in it 
than that. The beginner therefore should do his 
best, and be content to wait as far as results are 

There is another simple experiment which has 
greatly helped some beginners in gaining confidence. 
Let a man resolve to visit astrally some room which 
is well known to him — one, let us say, in a friend's 
house; and let him note carefully the arrangement 
of the furniture and books. Or if, without pre- 
viously intending it, the experimenter finds himself 
during sleep in a spot which he recognises (that is, 
in ordinary parlance, if he dreams of a certain place) 
he should set himself to observe it with great care. 
If when he remembers this in the morning it seems 
to him that everything in that room was exactly as 
when he last saw it physically, there is nothing to 
prove that it was not really a mere dream or memory ; 
but if he recollects some decided change in the ar- 
rangements, or if there is something new and un- 
expected, it is distinctly worth his while to go, 
physically in the morning to visit that room, in order 
to test whether his nocturnal vision has been correct. 

All those of us who are definitely engaged in astral 
work have necessarily at one time or another taken 
in hand a number of cases which needed help. Such 
help may occasionally be of the nature of a surgical 
operation — something which can be done once for 
all, and then put aside; but far more often wb 4 is 
needed is comfort, reassurance and strengthening 
which must be repeated day after day ih order that 
it may gradually sink into the texture of some 


wounded nature and transmute it into something 
braver and nobler. Or sometimes it is knowledge 
which must be given little by little as the mind opens 
to it and is able to bear it. Thus it comes that each 
worker has a number of chronic cases, clients, 
patients — call them what you will — whom he visits 
every night, just as a doctor upon earth makes a 
regular round among his patients. 

It often happens also that those who have been 
thus helped are filled with gratitude towards the 
worker, and attach themselves to him in order to 
second his efforts, and to pass on to others the bene- 
fits which they have thus received. So it comes that 
each worker is usually the centre of a small group, 
the leader of a little band of helpers for whom he is 
always able to find constant employment. For ex- 
ample, a large number of people who die are much 
in the position of children afraid of the dark. One 
may reason with them, and argue patiently and con- 
vincingly that there is nothing whatever to fear; 
but a hand that the child can hold is of more practi- 
cal use to him than a whole chapter of arguments. 

The astral worker, with a score of other cases 
needing immediate attention, cannot possibly spend 
the whole night in standing by and comforting one 
nervous or doubting patient; but he can detach for 
that purpose one of his earnest followers who is not 
so busily occupied, and is therefore able to devote 
himself to that charitable work. For to comfort the 
child in the dark no brilliant scientific knowledge 
is needed; what he wants is a kindly hand and the 
sense of companionship. So that work can be found 
in the astral world for any number of workers, and 
everyone who wishes, man, woman or child, may be 
one of them. For the larger and more comprehen- 


sive varieties of work, and for the direction of the 
work, much knowledge is of course required; but a 
heart full of love and the earnest desire to help is 
equipment enough to enable any one to become one 
of the minor comforters, and even that humble effort 
brings in its train a blessing beyond all calculation. 

When the astral worker finally lays aside the 
physical body for this incarnation, he finds himself 
among an army of grateful friends who rejoice un- 
reservedly that he is now able to spend the whole 
of his life with them instead of only a third of it. 
For such a worker there will be no sense of strange- 
ness or newness in the condition of the life after 
death. The change for him means only that he will 
then be able to devote the whole of his time to what 
is even now by far the happiest and most effective 
part of his work — a part which he takes up every 
night with joy and lays aside every morning with 
regret — the real life, in which our days of physical 
existence are but dull and featureless interludes. 

There are one or two other points with regard to 
the astral life which it is desirable for the worker 
to try to understand. One of these is the method 
of what I suppose we must call speech — the com- 
munication of ideas on the astral plane. 

It is not always easy to understand down here the 
substitute for language which is used in the astral 
world. Sound in the ordinary sense of the word is 
not possible there — indeed it is not possible even in 
the higher part of the purely physical plane. As 
soon as one rises above the air into the etheric 
regions, there is no more possibility of sound as we 
understand the word. Yet the symbol of sound is 
used very much higher, for we constantly find refer- 
ences to the spoken word of the LOGOS, which calls 
the worlds into manifestation. 


If in the morning we remember an experience of 
the previous night, such as the meeting with a friend 
or the attendance at a lecture, it will always seem 
to us that we heard a voice in the usual terrestrial 
way, and that we ourselves replied co it, also audi- 
bly. In reality this is not so; it is merely that when 
we bring through a recollection to the physical brain 
we instinctively express it in terms of the ordinary 
senses. Yet it would not be correct to say that the 
language of the astral world is thought-transference; 
the most that could be said is that it is the trans- 
ference of a thought formulated in a particular way. 

In the mental world one formulates a thought and 
it is instantly transmitted to the mind of another 
without any expression in the form of words. There- 
fore on that plane language does not matter in the 
least; but helpers working in the astral world, who 
have not yet the power to use the mental vehicle, 
must depend on the facilities offered by the astral 
plane itself. These lie as it were half way between 
the thought-transference of the mental world and 
the concrete speech of the physical, but it is still 
necessary to formulate the thought in words. It is 
as though one showed such formulation to the other 
party in the dialogue, and he replied (almost simul- 
taneously, but not quite) by showing in the same 
way his formulated reply. For this exchange it is 
necessary that the two parties should have a language 
in common; therefore the more languages an astral- 
plane helper knows, the more useful he is. 

The pupils of the Masters, however, have been 
taught to form a special kind of temporary vehicle, 
in order to meet these difficulties. They habitually 
leave their astral bodies with the physical; they 
travel about in their mental bodies, and they materia- 


Use a temporary astral body from surrounding matter 
when they need it for astral work. All who have 
been taught to do this have the advantage of the 
mental-plane method of thought-transference so far 
as understanding another man is concerned, though 
their power to convey a thought in that way is limited 
by the degree of development of that other man's 
astral body. 

Apart from definitely trained pupils, there are 
very few people who consciously work in the mental 
body — for to do so means years of practice in medi- 
tation and special effort. We know that a man in 
the heaven-world shuts himself up within a shell of 
his own thoughts, and that these thoughts then act 
as channels through which the life of the mental 
world can affect him. But we cannot call this 
functioning on the mental plane, for that involves 
the free moving about on that plane, and the observa- 
tion of what exists there. 

Fortunately, the mental elemental does not rear- 
range the mental body after death, so that we have 
not the same kind of trouble with it as with the 
desire-elemental on the astral plane. Indeed, the 
elemental essence of the mental plane differs greatly 
from that of the astral. It is a whole chain behind 
the other, and therefore it has not the same force. 
It is trying to deal with, for it is largely responsi- 
ble for our wandering thoughts, as it darts constantly 
from one thing to another; but at least it does not 
make a shell of any sort, although certain portions 
of the mental body may become hardened, as I have 
explained when dealing with that subject. 

When a man functions in the mental vehicle he 
leaves the astral body behind him in a condition of 
suspended animation, along with the physical. If he 


finds it necessary he can easily surround that torpid 
astral body with a shell, or he can set up in it vibra- 
tions which render it impervious to all evil influ- 
ences. It is unquestionably possible for any man in 
process of time, by meditation upon the Logos or 
the Master, to raise himself first to the astral and 
then to the mental levels; but none can say how long 
it will take, as that depends entirely upon the past 
of the student. 

It is quite possible for any person when upon the 
astral plane after death to set himself to study, and 
to acquire entirely new ideas. I have known people 
who learnt Theosophy for the first time in the astral 
world. I have even heard of a case in which a lady 
learnt music there, but that is unusual. Probably 
some dead person gave her lessons, or it may be that 
the teacher was a living musician who was on the 
astral plane at the same time as the lady. In astral 
life people often think that they are playing on 
astral instruments, but in reality they are only mak- 
ing vibrations by their thought, which produce the 
effect of sound. There is a special class of devas 
who respond to music and express themselves through 
it, and sometimes they are willing to teach people to 
whom music is the first and only thing in life. 

Most dead people shut themselves out from many 
of the possibilities of the plane, by accepting the re- 
arrangement of the body at death, which prevents 
them from seeing anything belonging to the higher 
levels. The Theosophist will not allow this rear- 
rangement, because he intends to work, and therefore 
he must be free to move through all the sub-planes. 
We cannot get rid of elemental essence, but we can 
subdue the desire-elemental, draw in the finer types 
of matter, and make the ego strong to keep the upper 


hand. The essence wants violent emotion, so as to 
evolve downwards — which, it must be remembered, 
is its proper and legitimate course of evolution. If 
it knew of our existence, we should appear to it to 
be evil beings and tempters, trying to prevent the 
evolution which it knows to be right for it. If we 
steadfastly refuse to allow our astral body to vibrate 
at the rate peculiar to the coarser matter, that 
coarser matter will gradually be discharged from 
the body, which will become finer in texture, and 
the desire-elemental will be of a less active kind. 

The rearrangement which the desire-elemental 
produces after death is over the surface of the counter- 
part of the physical body, not over the surface of the 
egg which surrounds it. The elemental tries to in- 
spire a feeling of terror in the man who is jolting 
him out of this arrangement, in order to deter him 
from doing so. This is one reason why it is so use- 
ful to have knowledge of these matters before death. 

There is no such thing as sleep in the astral world. 
The need of sleep on the physical plane is that it 
calms the physical centres and allows them time to 
rebuild themselves chemically, so that the astral 
body can work more freely, through a better vehicle; 
but on the astral plane there is no fatigue, unless 
we may call by that name the gradual slackening 
down of all the energies when the end of the astral 
life is approaching. 

It is possible to forget upon the astral plane, just 
as it is upon the physical. I mean in this case not 
the loss of memory between two planes, which is so 
common, but the actually being unable to remember 
on the astral plane to-night some of the details of 
what one did last night or last year. Indeed, per- 
haps it is even easier to forget on the astral plane 


than on the physical, because that world is so busy 
and so populous. 

Knowledge of a person in the astral world does 
not necessarily mean knowledge of the physical life 
of that person. For example, many of us know 
Madame Blavatsky in her new body exceedingly 
well on the astral plane, yet none of us have yet seen 
that body physically. She often uses her old form, 
though generally the new astral body now. 

Remembering Astral Experience 

When you leave your body to-night, you will re- 
member all that you did last night and during the 
day — in fact, you will have the whole of your 
present waking memory, plus that of your nightly 
astral life. The astral memory includes the physi- 
cal, but your physical brain does not remember the 
astral experience, for the simple reason that it had 
no share in it. 

A special link must be made, or rather an obstacle 
must be removed, in order to bring the memory 
through into the physical brain. In the slow course 
of evolution the power of perfect memory will come 
to every one, so that there will no longer be any veil 
between the two planes. Apart from this full de- 
velopment sometimes something occurs which the 
man feels that he ought to remember on the physi- 
cal plane, and in that case he makes a special effort 
to impress it upon the brain, in order that it may be 
remembered in the morning. There are some events, 
too, which make such a vivid impression upon the 


astral body that they become impressed upon the 
physical brain by a kind of repercussion. 

It is comparatively rarely, however, that such an 
impression is perfect, and there may be many stages 
of imperfection. This is one source of what we call 
dreams, and we know how confused and incomplete 
and even ridiculous they may often be. One form 
of distortion which frequently occurs in the case of 
the unpractised helper is that he confuses himself 
with the person to whom he has been giving assist- 

I remember a case of a member of our band who 
was deputed to assist the victim of an explosion. 
He was warned a few minutes beforehand, and had 
time enough to make an effort to calm and steady 
the man's mind, and then immediately after the 
outburst had taken place he was still on hand to 
continue the same process; but in the morning, when 
he described the event to me, he declared that it 
seemed exactly as though he himself had been the 
victim of the explosion. He had identified himself 
so closely with his patient that he felt the shock and 
the sensation of flying upwards exactly as, we must 
presume, the victim felt them. In another case the 
same member was called upon to assist a soldier who 
was driving an ammunition waggon down an exe- 
crable mountain road, and was thrown off and killed 
by the wheels passing over his body. In this case 
also our member entirely identified himself with the 
soldier, and his memory of the event was that he 
had dreamed of driving such a waggon and being 
thrown from it and killed, just as the real driver had 

In other cases what is remembered is not at all what 
really happened, but rather a sort of symbolic descrip- 


tion of it, sometimes quite elaborate and poetical. 
This comes evidently from the image-making charac- 
teristic of the ego — his faculty of instantaneous 
dramatisation — and it sometimes happens that the 
symbol is recollected without its key ; it comes through 
untranslated, as it were, so that unless the helper 
has a more experienced friend at hand to explain 
matters, he may have only a vague idea of what he 
has really done. A good instance of this came before 
my notice many years ago — so many that, as I made 
no record of it at the time, I am not now quite certain 
of one or two of its points, and am therefore obliged 
to omit some of it, and make it a little less interest- 
ing than I think it really was. 

The helper came to me one morning to relate an 
exceedingly vivid dream which he felt sure was in 
reality something more than a dream. He remem- 
bered having seen a certain young lady drowning in 
the sea. I believe that he had the impression that 
she had been intentionally thrown in, though I do not 
think that he had any vision of the person who was 
supposed to have done this. He himself could not 
directly assist her, as he was present only in the astral 
body, and did not know how to materialise himself; 
but his keen sense of the imminence of the peril gave 
him strength to impress the idea of danger upon the 
young lady's lover, and to bring him to the scene, 
when he at once plunged in and brought her ashore, 
delivering her into the arms of her father. The helper 
remembered the faces of all these three characters 
quite clearly, and was able so to describe them that 
they were afterwards readily recognisable. The 
helper begged me to look into this case, so that he 
might know how far his clear remembrance was 


On doing so, I found to my surprise that the whole 
story was symbolic, and that the facts which had 
really occurred were of a different nature. The young 
lady was motherless, and lived practically alone with 
her father. She seems to have been rich as well as 
beautiful, and no doubt there were various aspirants 
to her hand. Our story, however, has to do only with 
two of these ; one, a most estimable but bashful young 
fellow of the neighbourhood, who had adored her since 
childhood, had grown up in friendly relations with 
her, and had in fact the usual half-understood, half- 
implied engagement which belongs to a boy-and-girl 
love affair. The other was a person distinctly of the 
adventurer type, handsome and dashing and captivat- 
ing on the surface, but in reality a fortune-hunter of 
false and unreliable type. She was dazzled by his 
superficial brilliancy, and easily persuaded herself 
that her attraction for him was real affection, and 
that her previous feelings of comradeship for her boy 
friend amounted to nothing. 

Her father, however, was much more clear-sighted 
than she, and when the adventurer was presented to 
him he seems to have received him with marked cool- 
ness, and declined altogether, though kindly enough, 
to sanction his daughter's marriage with a gentleman 
of whom he knew nothing. This was a great blow 
to the young lady, and the adventurer, meeting her 
in secret, easily persuaded her that she was a terribly 
ill-used and misunderstood person, that her father 
was quite unbearably tyrannical and ridiculously old- 
fashioned, that the only thing left for her to do as a 
girl of spirit was to show that she meant what she 
said by eloping with him (the aforesaid adventurer)' 
after which of course the father would come round to 
a more sensible view of life, and the future would 
take on the rosiest of hues. 


The foolish girl believed him, and he gradually 
worked upon her feelings until she consented; and 
the particular night upon which our friend the helper 
came upon the scene was that which had been chosen 
for the elopement. In true melodramatic style the 
adventurer was waiting round the corner with a car- 
riage, and the girl was in her room hurriedly pre- 
paring herself to slip out and join him. 

Not unnaturally, when it came actually to the point 
her mind was much disturbed, and she found it very 
difficult to take the final step. It was this fluttering 
of the mind, this earnest desire for aid in decision, 
which attracted the notice of the helper as he was 
drifting casually by. Reading her thoughts, he quickly 
grasped the situation, and at once began to try to in- 
fluence her against the rash step which she contem- 
plated. Her mind, however, was in such a condition 
that he was unable to impress himself upon her as 
he wished, and he looked round in great anxiety for 
someone who should prove more amenable to his in- 
fluence. He tried to seize upon the father, but he was 
engaged in his library in some literary work of so 
engrossing a character that it proved impossible to 
attract his attention. 

Fortunately, however, the half-forgotten lover of 
her youth happened to be within reach, wandering 
about in the starlight and looking up at her window 
in the approved style of young lovers all the world 
over. The helper pounced upon him, seeing the con- 
dition of his sentiments, and to his great delight 
found him more receptive. His deep love made him 
anxious, and it was easy enough to influence him to 
walk far enough to see the carriage and the adven- 
turer in waiting around the corner. His affection 
quickened his wits, and he instantly grasped the situa- 


tion, and was filled with horror and dismay. To do 
him justice, at that supreme moment it was not of 
himself that he thought, not that he was on the eve 
of losing her, but that she was on the eve of throw- 
ing herself away and ruining the whole of her future 
life. In his excitement he forgot all about conven- 
tion; he made his way into the house (for he had 
known the place since childhood), rushed up the stairs 
and met her at the door of her room. 

The words which he said to her neither he nor she 
can remember now, but in wild and earnest pleading 
he besought her to think before doing this terrible 
thing, to realise clearly into what an abyss she was 
about to throw herself, to bethink herself well before 
entering upon the path of destruction, and at least, 
before doing anything more, to consult openly with 
the loving father whom she was requiting so ill for 
his ceaseless care of her. 

The shock of his sudden appearance and the fervour 
of his objurgations awakened her as from a sort of 
trance; and she offered scarcely any resistance when 
he dragged her off then and there to her father as he 
sat working in his library. The astonishment of the 
father may be imagined, when the story was unfolded 
before him. He had had not the slightest conception 
of his daughter's attitude, and she herself, now that 
the spell was shaken off, could not imagine how she 
had ever been able really to contemplate such a step. 
Both she and her father overflowed with gratitude to 
the loyal young lover, and before he left her that 
night she had ratified the old childish engagement, 
and promised to be his wife at no remote date. 

This was what had really happened, and one can 
see that the symbolism chosen by the ego of the helper 
was by no means inapt, however misleading it may 
have been as to the actual facts. 


Sometimes nothing comes through that can be 
called an actual memory, but only the effect of some- 
thing that has been seen or that has happened. A 
man may wake in the morning with a strong feeling 
of elation and success, without in the least being able 
to recall in what he has succeeded. This generally 
means some good piece of work well done, but it is 
often impossible for the man to recover the details. 
At other times he may bring back with him a feeling 
of reverence, a sense of great holiness. This usually 
means that he has been in the presence of some one 
much greater than himself, or has seen some direct 
evidence of the greater power. Sometimes, on the 
other hand, a person may wake with a feeling of terri- 
ble fear. That is sometimes due only to the alarm of 
the physical body at some unaccustomed sensation; 
but it is sometimes also due to having encountered 
something horrible in the astral world. Or again it 
may arise merely from sympathy with some astral 
entity who is in a state of terror, for it is a frequent 
thing on the astral plane that one person should be 
strongly influenced by sympathy with another's con- 

Few people, however, when in the astral body, 
care whether the physical brain remembers or not, 
and nine out of ten much dislike returning to the 
body. But if you specially wish to get into the habit 
of remembering, the procedure which I should re- 
commend is the following: 

To make the link, first remember, when you are 
out of the body, that you wish to do so. Then you 
must determine to come back into the body slowly, 
instead of with a rush and a little jerk, as is usually 
the case. It is this jerk that prevents one from re- 
membering. Stop yourself and say, just before you 


awake: "There is my body; I am just about to 
enter it. As soon as I am in it I will make it sit up 
and write down all it can remember." Then enter 
it calmly, sit up instantly and write down all you are 
able to remember at once. If you wait a few min- 
utes, all will usually be lost. But each fact that you 
bring through will serve as a link for other mem- 
ories. The notes may seem a little incoherent when 
you read them over afterwards, but never mind that; 
it is because you are trying to give an account in 
physical words of the experiences of another plane. 
In this way you will gradually recover the memory, 
though it may take a long time; great patience is 

You should try to remember when out of the body 
that you are in the astral world, and that it would 
be a comfort to the physical consciousness if some 
memory could be carried through. Be systematic in 
your efforts. Every time that you succeed in bring- 
ing something through, it will make it easier to re- 
member next time, and will bring nearer the period 
when there will be habitual automatic recollection. 
At present there is a moment of unconsciousness be- 
tween sleeping and waking, and this acts as a veil. 
It is caused by the closely-woven web of atomic mat- 
ter through which the vibrations have to pass. 

In coming back to the physical body from the 
astral world there is a feeling of great constraint, 
as though one were being enveloped in a thick, heavy 
cloak. The joy of life on the astral plane is so great 
that physical life in comparison with it seems no life 
at all. Many men who can function in the astral 
world during the sleep of the physical body regard 
the daily return to the physical world as men often 
do their daily journey to the office. They do not 


positively dislike it, but they would not do it unless 
they were compelled. 

When the man is free in the mental world, the 
astral life similarly seems a state of bondage, and so on, 
until we reach the buddhic world, which is in its essence 
bliss. After once reaching that level, although the 
man on the physical plane is still cramped and unable 
to express the bliss, he nevertheless has it all the time, 
and he knows that all others who are unable to feel 
it now will feel and know it at some future time. 
Even if only for a moment you could feel the reality 
of the higher planes, your life would never again be 
the same. 

Astral pleasures are much greater than those of 
the physical world, and there is danger of people 
being turned aside by them from the path of progress. 
It is quite impossible to realise while one is confined 
in the physical body the great attractiveness of these 
pleasures. But even the delights of the astral life 
do not present a serious danger to those who have 
realised a little of something higher. After death 
one should try to pass through the astral levels as 
speedily as possible, consistently with usefulness, and 
not yield to its refined pleasures any more than to the 
physical. One must not only overcome physical de- 
sire by knowledge of the astral or the heaven-life, 
but also go beyond even them, and this not merely 
for the sake of the joy of the spiritual life, but in 
order to replace the fleeting by the everlasting. 


The Higher Dimensions 

If there are seven dimensions at all, there are 
seven dimensions always and everywhere, and it 
makes no difference to that fundamental fact in 
nature whether the consciousness of any individual 
happens to be acting through his physical body, his 
astral body or his nirvanic vehicle. In the last case 
he has the power to see and understand the whole 
thing. In any of the other cases his capacities are 
limited. There is therefore no such thing as a three- 
dimensional or four-dimensional object or being. If 
space has seven dimensions, every object must exist 
within that space, and the difference between us is 
merely in our power of perception. 

Physically we see only three dimensions, and there- 
fore we see all objects and beings very partially. 
One who has the power to see four dimensions still 
sees objects only partially, although he sees more of 
them than the other man. We find ourselves in the 
midst of a vast universe built of matter of varying 
degrees of tenuity, which exists in a space of (let us 
suppose) seven dimensions. But we find ourselves 
in possession of a consciousness which is capable of 
appreciating only three of those dimensions, and only 
matter of certain degrees of tenuity. All matter of 
other and higher degrees is for us as if it did not 
exist. All dimensions beyond the three are also to 
us as though they did not exist. 

But our lack of perceptive power does not in any 
way affect the objects themselves. A man picks up 
(let us say) a piece of stone. He can see only the 


physical particles of that stone, but that in no way 
affects the undoubted fact that that stone at the same 
time possesses within it particles of matter of the 
astral and mental and other higher planes. In just 
the same way, that stone must theoretically possess 
some sort of extension, however small, in all the 
seven dimensions; but that fact is in no way affected 
by the other fact that the man's consciousness can 
appreciate only three of those dimensions. 

To examine that object the man is using a physical 
organ (the eye) which is capable of appreciating 
only certain rates of undulation radiated by certain 
types of matter. If he should develope what we call 
astral consciousness he would then be employing an 
organ which is capable of responding only to the vi- 
brations radiated by another and finer part of that 
piece of stone. If in developing the astral con- 
sciousness he had lost the physical — that is, if he 
had left his physical body — he would be able to see 
only the astral and not the physical. But of course 
the object itself is not affected in any way, and the 
physical part of it has not ceased to exist because 
the man has for the time lost the power to see it. 
If he developed his astral consciousness so that he 
could use it simultaneously with the physical, he 
would then be able to see both the physical and astral 
parts of the object at the same time, though proba- 
bly not both with equal clearness at absolutely the 
same moment. 

Now, just as all the higher forms of matter exist 
in every object, although untrained people cannot see 
them, so all the dimensions of space must appertain 
to every object, although the number of those dimen- 
sions that we can observe depends upon the condition 
of our consciousness. In physical life we can normally 


conceive only three, though by careful special train- 
ing the brain may be educated into grasping some 
of the simpler fourth-dimensional forms. The astral 
consciousness has the power of grasping four of 
these dimensions, but it by no means follows that a 
man who opens his astral consciousness immediately 
perceives the extension of every object in four di- 
mensions; on the contrary, it is quite certain that 
the average man does not perceive this at all when 
he enters the astral plane. He realises it only as a 
certain blurring — a kind of incomprehensible differ- 
ence in the things that he used to see; and most men 
go through their astral lives without discovering 
more than that of the qualities of the matter which 
surrounds them. 

We should say, then, not that the possession of 
astral vision at once causes the man to appreciate 
the fourth dimension, but rather that it gives him 
the power to develope that faculty by long, careful 
and patient practice, if he knows anything about the 
matter and cares to take the trouble. Entities be- 
longing to the astral plane, and presumably igno- 
rant of any other (such as nature-spirits, for example) 
have by nature the faculty of seeing the fourth- 
dimensional aspect of all objects. But we must not 
therefore suppose that they see them perfectly, since 
they perceive only the astral matter in them and not 
the physical, just as we with our different kind of 
limitation perceive only the physical and not the 

It has never been taught, so far as I am aware, 
that the entities of the astral plane are conscious of 
us upon the physical plane. They quite clearly and 
definitely are not conscious of physical matter of any 
kind. But they are conscious of the astral counter- 


part of that physical matter, which for all practical 
purposes comes to very nearly the same thing, though 
not quite. 

I should not expect the higher dimensions to mani- 
fest themselves as qualities of matter to our physical 
consciousness, though it is conceivable that some of 
them might do so in certain special cases. The 
density of a gas, for example, might be a measure 
of its extent in the fourth dimension. 

If an object passes through a wall, the question 
of the fourth dimension is not raised, nor are the 
properties connected with it employed at all. But in 
order that the object may so pass through, either 
it or a portion of the wall corresponding in size to 
it must be disintegrated — that is, reduced either to 
the atomic or to one of the etheric conditions, so that 
the particles may pass freely among one another with- 
out hindrance. That is entirely a three-dimensional 
method. Another and quite different feat is not to 
disintegrate at all either the object or the wall, but to 
bring the entire object in by another direction alto- 
gether, where there is no wall. But that direction 
is unknown to us in our physical consciousness. 

If one had a cup made of porous earthenware, one 
could no doubt fill it with water by the process of 
reducing the water to steam and forcing it through 
the sides of the cup; that would be equivalent to the 
ordinary process of disintegration and reintegra- 
tion, for the water, reduced to a higher state for the 
purpose of being forced through the pores of the 
cup, would resume its natural condition when it had 
passed through. But it would also be possible to fill 
the cup by the simpler process of taking off the lid 
and pouring in the water from above, and in this 
case the water need not be changed in any way, be- 


cause it is introduced into the cup from a direction in 
which there is no wall to penetrate. These are simply 
two ways of producing the same result, and they do 
not mutually exclude each other. 

^ijtrb Rectum 

t% f otor of fElpntgljt 


The Mental Body 

FTER reading Man Visible and Invisible 
students have sometimes remarked that 
the list of qualities there given seems in- 
complete, and that nothing is said as to 
some others which are at least equally com- 
mon — such for example as courage, dignity, cheerful- 
ness, truthfulness, loyalty. The reason that these were 
not included in that first account is that they have not, 
as have those other qualities, readily distinguishable 
colours; but it must not therefore be supposed that 
their presence or absence would be indistinguishable 
by clairvoyant vision. Such qualities are indicated 
by differences in the structure of the mental body, or 
by changes in its surface ; but it might be said, broadly 
speaking, that they are represented rather by form 
than by colour. 

It will be remembered that, in the drawings of the 
mental body given in the book above mentioned, the 
colours which indicate some of the principal qualities 
are shown, and something is said as to their general 
arrangement in the vehicle. In a general way, all 
the colours denoting good qualities are to be found in 
the upper half, and those denoting unpleasant quali- 
ties are mostly in the lower half. The violet of high 


aspiration, the blue of devotion, the rose-colour of 
affection, the yellow which indicates intellect, and 
even the orange of pride or ambition — all these belong 
to the upper part, while thoughts prompted by anger, 
selfishness or jealousy gravitate towards the bottom 
of the ovoid. While the illustrations there given 
fairly indicate what would be the appearance of the 
mental body if it ever were really at rest, there is 
considerable variation from those types when the man 
is in the act of thinking strongly or definitely. 

The mental unit may be regarded as the heart and 
centre of the mental body, and upon the relative 
activity of the different parts of that unit the appear- 
ance of the body as a whole to a great extent depends. 
The various activities of the mind fall naturally into 
certain classes or divisions, and these divisions are ex- 
pressed through different parts of the mental unit. 
Mental units are by no means all the same. They 
differ greatly according to the type and the develop- 
ment of their owners. If such a mental unit lay at 
rest the force radiating from it would make a num- 
ber of funnels in the mental body, just as the light 
shining through the slide in a magic lantern makes 
a large radiating funnel of light in the air between 
the lantern and the sheet. 

In this case the surface of the mental body may be 
likened to the sheet, because it is only at the surface 
that the effect becomes visible to one who is looking 
at the mental body from the outside; so that, if the 
mental unit were at rest, we should see on the sur- 
face of the mental body a number of pictures in 
colour, representing the various types of thought 
common to the person, with presumably dark spaces 
between them. But the mental unit, like all other 
chemical combinations, is rotating rapidly on its axiF, 


and the effect of this is that in the mental body we 
have a series of bands, not always quite clearly de- 
fined, nor always of the same width, but still readily 
distinguishable, and usually in about the same relative 

Where aspirational thought exists, it invariably 
shows itself in a beautiful little violet circle at the 
top of the ovoid of the mental body. As the aspirant 
draws near to the gateway of the Path this circle 
increases in size and radiancy, and in the initiate it 
is a splendid glowing cap of the most lovely colour 
imaginable. Below it comes often the blue ring of 
devotional thought, usually rather a narrow one, 
except in the case of the few whose religion is really 
deep and genuine. Next to that we may have the 
much broader zone of affectionate thought, which 
may be of any shade of crimson or rose-colour, ac- 
cording to the type of affection which it indicates. 
Near the zone of affection, and frequently closely con- 
nected with it, we have the orange band which ex- 
presses proud and ambitious thought; and again in inti- 
mate relation with pride comes the yellow belt of in- 
tellect, commonly divided into two bands, denoting 
respectively the philosophical and the scientific types 
of thought. The place of this yellow colour varies 
much in different men; sometimes it fills the whole of 
the upper part of the egg f rising above devotion 
and affection, and in such a case pride is generally 

Below the group already described, and occupying 
the middle section of the ovoid, is the broad belt de- 
voted to concrete shapes — the part of the mental 
body from which all ordinary thought-forms issue. 
The principal colour here is green, shaded often 
with brown or yellow according to the disposition of 
the person. 


There is no part of the mental body which varies 
more widely than this. Some people have their 
mental bodies crowded with a vast number of con- 
crete images, whereas others have only few. In 
some they are clear and well-outlined, in others they 
are vague and hazy to the last degree; in some they 
are classified and labelled and arranged in the most 
orderly fashion, in others they are not arranged at 
all, but are left in hopeless confusion. 

In the lower part of the ovoid come the belts ex- 
pressing all kinds of undesirable thoughts. A kind 
of muddy precipitate of selfishness too often fills the 
lower third or even the half of the mental body, and 
above this is sometimes a ring portraying hatred, 
cunning or fear. Naturally, as men develope, this 
lower part vanishes, and the upper gradually ex- 
pands until it fills the whole body, as shown in the 
illustrations in Man Visible and Invisible. 

Degrees in the feeling which prompts thought are 
expressed by brilliance of colour. In devotional feel- 
ing, for example, we may have the three stages of 
respect, reverence and worship; in affection we may 
have the stages of good-will, friendship and love. 
The stronger the thought the larger is the vibration; 
the more spiritual and unselfish the thought the 
higher is the vibration. The first produces brilliancy, 
the second delicacy of colour. 

Within these different rings or zones we usually 
see more or less clearly marked striations, and many 
qualities of the man can be judged by an examina- 
tion of these striations. The possession of a strong 
will, for example, brings the whole mental body 
into far more level definite lines. All the striations 
and radiations are steady, firm and clearly dis- 
tinguishable, whereas in the case of a weak and 


vacillating person this firmness and strength of line 
would be conspicuously absent; the lines separating 
the different qualities would be indeterminate, and 
the striations and radiations would be small, weak 
and wavy. Courage is shown by firm and very 
strongly-marked lines, especially in the orange band 
connected with pride. Dignity also expresses itself 
principally in the same part of the mental body, but 
by a calm steadiness and assuredness which is quite 
different from the lines of courage. 

Truthfulness and accuracy are portrayed very 
clearly by regularity in the striations of the part of 
the mental body devoted to concrete forms, and by 
the clearness and correctness of the images which 
appoar there. Loyalty shows itself by an intensifi- 
cation both of affection and of devotion, and by the 
constant formation, in that part of the ovoid, of 
figures of the person to whom the loyalty is felt. In 
many cases of loyalty, affection and devotion, a very 
strong permanent image is made of the objects of 
these feelings, and that remains floating in the aura 
of the thinker, so that, when his thought turns 
towards the loved or adored one, the force which he 
pours out strengthens that already existing image, 
instead of forming a new one, as it would normally do* 

Joy shows itself in a general brightening and 
radiancy of both the mental and the astral bodies, 
as also in a peculiar rippling of the surface of the 
body. General cheerfulness shows itself in a modi- 
fied bubbling form of this, and also in a steady 
serenity which is pleasant to see. Surprise, on the 
other hand, is shown by a sharp constriction of the 
mental body, accompanied by an increased glow in 
the bands of affection if the surprise is a pleasant 
one, and by a change of colour usually involving the 


display of a good deal of brown and grey in the 
lower part of the ovoid when the surprise is an un- 
pleasant one. This constriction is usually commu- 
nicated to both the astral and the physical bodies, 
and often causes singularly unpleasant feelings, which 
affect sometimes the solar plexus (resulting in sink- 
ing and sickness) and sometimes the heart-centre, in 
which case it brings palpitation or even death; 
so that a sudden surprise may occasionally kill 
one who has a weak heart. Awe is the same as 
wonder, except that it accompanied by a profound 
change in the devotional part of the mental body, 
which usually swells out under this influence, and 
has its striations more strongly marked. 

At the moment when a person's thought is strongly 
directed into one or another of these channels, the 
part of the mental body which corresponds to that 
thought usually bulges outwards in form in addition 
to brightening in colour, and so disturbs for the time 
the symmetry of the ovoid. In many people such 
bulging is permanent, and that always means that 
the amount of thought of that type is steadily in- 
creasing. If, for example, a person takes up some 
scientific study, and therefore suddenly turns his 
thoughts in that direction much more than before, 
the first effect will be such protuberance as I have 
described; but if he keeps the amount of his thought 
on scientific subjects steadily at the same level which 
he has now adopted, the protruding portion will 
gradually sink back into the general outline of the 
ovoid, but the band of its colour will have become 
wider than before. 

If however the man's interest in scientific sub- 
jects steadily increases in force, the protrusion will 
still remain in evidence even though the band has 


widened. The general effect of this is that in the un- 
developed man the lower portion of the ovoid tends 
always to be larger than the upper, so that the 
mental and astral bodies have the appearance of an 
egg with the small end uppermost; while in the more 
developed man the qualities expressing themselves in 
the higher part are always tending to increase, and 
consequently we have for the time the effect of an 
egg with its smaller end pointing downwards. But 
the tendency always is for the symmetry of the ovoid 
to re-assert itself by degrees, so that such appear- 
ances are only temporary. 

Reference has frequently been made to the cease- 
less motion of the matter in both the mental and 
astral bodies. When the astral body, for example, is 
disturbed' by any sudden emotion, all its matter is 
swept about as if by a violent hurricane, so that for 
the time being the colours become very much mixed. 
Presently, however, by the specific gravity of the 
different types of matter which reflect or emit these 
various colours, the whole arrangement will sort 
itself once more into its usual zones. Even then the 
matter is by no means at rest, as the particles are 
all the time rushing round these zones, though com- 
paratively rarely leaving their own belt and intrud- 
ing on another. But this movement within its own zone 
is entirely a healthy one; one in whom there is no 
such circulation is a mental crustacean, incapable of 
growth until he bursts his shell. The activity of the 
matter in any particular zone increases in proportion 
to the amount of thought devoted to the subject of 
which it is an expression. 

If the man should permit his thought upon any 
given subject to stagnate, that stagnation will be 
faithfully reproduced in the matter appropriate to 


the subject. If a prejudice should grow up in the 
man, thought on that particular subject ceases alto- 
gether, and a small eddy forms in which the mental 
matter runs round and round until it coagulates and 
becomes a kind of wart. Unless and until this wart 
is worn away or forcibly rooted out, the man cannot 
use that particular part of his mental body, and is 
incapable of rational thought on that subject. This 
foul thickened mass blocks all free movement either 
outward or inward; it prevents him on the one hand 
from seeing accurately, or from receiving any relia- 
ble new impressions on the matter in question, and 
on the other from sending out any clear thought with 
regard to it. 

These diseased spots in the mental body are un- 
fortunately also centres of infection; the inability to 
see clearly increases and spreads. If part of the 
man's mental body is already stagnant, the other parts 
are likely to be affected; if a man allows himself to 
have a prejudice on one subject he will probably 
soon develope prejudices on others, because the healthy 
flow of mental matter has been checked and the habit 
of untruth has been formed. Religious prejudice is 
the commonest and the most serious of all, and it 
completely prevents any approach to rational thought 
with regard to the subject. Unfortunately a very 
large number of people have the whole of that part 
of their mental bodies which should be occupied with 
religious matters inactive, ossified and covered with 
warts, so that even the most rudimentary conception 
of what religion really is remains utterly impossible 
for them until a catastrophic change has taken place. 

It may be remembered that in Man Visible and In- 
visible drawings were given of the astral bodies of 
men of the devotional and scientific types. Variants 


of these with which we frequently meet are the in- 
tuitional person and the matter-of-fact person. The 
latter has generally much of yellow in his mental 
body, and his various bands of colour are usually 
regular and in order. He has far less emotion and 
less imagination than the intuitional man, and there- 
fore often in certain ways less power and enthusiasm; 
but on the other hand he is far less likely to make 
mistakes, and what he does will generally be well 
and carefully done. In the vehicle of the intuitional 
man we find much more of blue, but the colours are 
generally vague and the whole body ill-regulated. 
He suffers much more than the steadier type, but 
sometimes through that suffering he is able to make 
rapid progress. Of course, both the glow and enthu- 
siasm and the steadiness and regularity have their 
place in the perfect man ; it is only a question of which 
is acquired first. 

Mystical thought and the presence of psychic facul- 
ties are indicated by colours of which we have no 
equivalents on the physical plane. When a man be- 
gins to develope along occult lines, the whole of his 
mental body must be rapidly purified and brought 
into thorough working order, for every part of it will 
be needed, and every part must be absolutely at its 
best if he is to make any real progress. It is emi- 
nently necessary that he should be able to make strong 
and clear thought-forms, and in addition to this it 
is a great help and comfort to him if he is able to 
visualise them clearly. The two acts must not be 
confused; one man may be able to make a stronger 
and clearer thought-form than another, and yet not 
be able to visualise it so well. The formation of a 
thought is a direct act of the will, working through 
the mental body; the visualisation is simply the 


power to see clairvoyantly the thought-form which 
he has made. Let him think strongly of any object, 
and the image of it is there in the mental body — just 
as much there whether he can visualise it or not. 

It must be remembered that all mental work done 
on the physical plane must be done through the 
physical brain, so that in order to succeed it is neces- 
sary not only to develope the mental body, but to get 
the physical brain into order, so that the mental body 
may readily work through it. It is well known that 
certain parts of the brain are connected with certain 
qualities in the man and with his power to think 
along certain lines, and all these must be brought into 
order and duly correlated with the zones in the mental 

Another point, the greatest of all, is that there is 
another connection to be made and kept active — the 
connection between the ego and his mental body; for 
he is the force behind, which makes use of all these 
qualities and powers. In order that we may think of 
anything we must first remember it; in order that 
we may remember it we must have paid attention 
to it; and the paying of attention is the descent of 
the ego into his vehicles in order to look out through 
them. Many a man with a fine mental body and a 
good brain makes little use of them because he 
pays little attention to life — that is to say, because 
the ego is putting but little of himself down into these 
lower planes, and so the vehicles are left to run riot 
at their own will. I have written elsewhere of the 
cure for this state of affairs ; put very briefly it comes 
to this: Give the ego the conditions which he de- 
sires, and he will promptly put himself down more 
fully, to take advantage of them. If he desires to 
develope affection, give him the opportunity by culti- 


vating affection to the fullest extent on these lower 
planes, and at once the ego will respond. If he de- 
sires principally wisdom, then endeavour by study to 
make yourself wise upon the physical plane, and once 
more the ego will appreciate your effort and be de- 
lighted to co-operate. Find out what he wants and 
give it to him, and you will have no reason to com- 
plain of his response. 

A Neglected Power 

People who have not made a special study of the 
matter never understand what a tremendous power 
there is in thought. Steam-power, water-power, 
these are real to them, because they can see them at 
work; but thought-power is vague and shadowy and 
intangible to them. Yet those who have taken the 
trouble to look into the subject know very well that 
one is just as real as the other. 

This is true in two senses— directly and indirectly. 
Everybody, when it occurs to him, recognises the in- 
direct action of thought, for it is obvious that a man 
must think before he can do anything, and the 
thought is the motive power of his act just as the 
water is the motive power of the mill. But people 
do not generally know that thought has also a direct 
action on matter — that whether or not a man trans- 
lates his thought into a deed, the thought itself has 
already produced an effect. 

Our readers are already aware that there are many 
kinds of matter finer than those which are visible 
to physical sight, and that the force of man's thought 


acts directly upon some of these and sets them in mo- 
tion. A thought shows itself as a vibration in the men- 
tal body of man ; tnat vibration is communicated to ex- 
ternal matter, and an effect is produced. Thought 
therefore is itself a real and definite power; and the 
point of vivid interest about it is that everyone of us 
possesses this power. A comparatively small number 
of rich men have concentrated in their hands the steam- 
power and the electric power of the world; money 
is needed to buy its use, and therefore for many it is 
unattainable. But here is a power which is already 
in the hands of everyone, poor and rich, young and 
old alike; all we have to do is to learn to use it. In- 
deed, we are all of us using it to some extent even 
now, but because we do not understand it we often 
unconsciously do harm with it instead of good, both 
to ourselves and to others. 

Those who have read the book called Thought- 
Forms will remember how it is there explained that 
a thought produces two principal external effects — a 
radiating vibration and a floating form. Let us see 
how these affect the thinker himself, and how they 
affect others. 

The first point to remember is the force of habit. 
If we accustom our mental bodies to a certain type of 
vibration they learn to reproduce it easily and readily. 
If we let ourselves think a certain kind of thought 
to-day, it will be appreciably easier to think that 
same thought to-morrow. If a man allows himself 
to begin to think evil of others, it soon becomes easy 
to think more evil of them and difficult to think any 
good of them. Hence arises a ridiculous prejudice 
which absolutely blinds the man to the good points 
in his neighbours, and enormously magnifies the evil 
in them. 


Then his thoughts begin to stir up his emotions; 
because he sees only the evil in others he begins to 
hate them. The vibrations of mental matter excite 
those of the denser matter called astral, just as the 
wind disturbs the surface of the sea. We all know 
that by thinking over what he considers his wrongs 
a man can easily make himself angry, though we 
often seem to forget the inevitable corollary that by 
thinking calmly and reasonably a man can prevent 
or dismiss anger. 

Still another reaction upon the thinker is produced 
by the thought-form which he generates. If the 
thought be aimed at someone else, the form flies like 
a missile towards that person, but if the thought be 
(as is so often the case) connected chiefly with the 
thinker himself, the form remains floating near him, 
ever ready to react upon him and reproduce itself 
— that is to say, to stir up in his mind the same 
thought once more. The man will feel as though 
it were put into his mind from without, and if it 
happens to be an evil thought he will probably think 
that the devil is tempting him, whereas the experi- 
ence is nothing but the mechanical result of his own 
previous thought. 

Now see how this fragment of knowledge can be 
utilised. Obviously every thought or emotion pro- 
duces a permanent effect, for it strengthens or weak- 
ens a tendency; furthermore, it is constantly re- 
acting upon the thinker. It is clear therefore that 
we must exercise the greatest care as to what thought 
or emotion we permit to arise within ourselves. We 
must not excuse ourselves, as so many do, by saying 
that undesirable feelings are natural under certain 
conditions; we must assert our prerogative as rulers 
of this kingdom of our mind and emotions. If we 


can get into the habit of evil thought, it must be 
equally possible to get into the habit of good thought. 
We can accustom ourselves to look for the desirable 
rather than the undesirable qualities in the people 
whom we meet; and it will surprise us to find how 
numerous and how important those desirable quali- 
ties are. Thus we shall come to like these people 
instead of disliking them, and there will be at least 
a possibility that we may do them something ap- 
proaching to justice in our estimate of them. 

We may set ourselves definitely as a useful exer- 
cise to think good and kindly thoughts, and if we do 
we shall very soon begin to perceive the result of 
this practice. Our minds will begin to work more 
easily along the grooves of admiration and appreci? 
ation instead of along those of suspicion and dis- 
paragement; and when for the moment our brains 
are unoccupied, the thoughts which present them- 
selves will be good instead of bad, because they will 
be the reaction of the gracious forms with which 
we have laboured to surround ourselves. "As a man 
thinketh in his heart, so is he;" and it is obvious that 
the systematic use of thought-power will make life 
much easier and pleasanter for us. 

Now let us see how our thought affects others. 
The radiating undulation, like many other vibra- 
tions in nature, tends to reproduce itself. Put an 
object in front of a fire, and presently that object 
becomes hot; why? Because the radiations of rapid 
vibration coming from the incandescent matter in 
the grate have stirred the molecules of the object 
into more rapid oscillation also. Just in the same 
way if we persistently pour the undulation of kindly 
thought upon another, it must in time awaken a simi- 
lar vibration of kindly thought in him. Thought- 


forms directed towards him will hover about him 
and act upon him for good when opportunity offers. 
Just as a bad thought may be a tempting demon 
either to the thinker or to another, so a good thought 
may be a veritable guardian angel, encouraging 
virtue and repelling vice. 

A grumbling and fault-finding attitude towards 
others is unfortunately sadly common at the present 
day, and those who adopt it never seem to realise the 
harm that they are doing. If we study its result 
scientifically we shall see that the prevalent habit 
of malicious gossip is nothing short of wicked. It 
does not matter whether there is or is not any 
foundation for scandal; in either case it cannot but 
cause harm. Here we have a number of people fix- 
ing their minds upon some supposed evil quality in 
another, and drawing to it the attention of scores of 
others to whom such an idea would never otherwise 
have occurred. 

Suppose they accuse their victim of jealousy. 
Some hundreds of people at once begin to pour upon 
this unhappy sufferer streams of thought suggesting 
the idea of jealousy. Is it not obvious that if the 
poor man has any tendency towards that unpleasant 
quality, it cannot but be greatly intensified by such 
a cataract? And if, as is commonly the case, there 
is no reason whatever for the spiteful rumour, those 
who so eagerly spread it are at any rate doing their 
best to create in the man the very vice over the 
imagined presence of which they gloat so savagely. 

Think of your friends by all means, but think of 
their good points, not only because that is a much 
healthier occupation for you, but because by doing 
so you strengthen them. When you are reluctantly 
compelled to recognise the presence of some evil 


quality in a friend, take especial care not to think 
of it, but think instead of the opposite virtue which 
you wish him to develope. If he happen to be par- 
simonious or lacking in affection, carefully avoid 
gossiping about this defect or even fixing your 
thought upon it, because if you do, the vibration 
which you will send him will simply make matters 
worse. Instead of that, think with all your strength 
of the quality which he needs, flood him with the un- 
dulations of generosity and love, for in that way you 
will really help your brother. 

Use your thought-power in ways such as these, and 
you will become a veritable centre of blessing in your 
corner of the world. But remember that you have 
only a limited amount of this force, and if you want 
to have enough to be useful you must not waste it. 

The average man is simply a centre of agitated 
vibration ; he is constantly in a condition of worry, 
of trouble about something, or in a condition of deep 
depression, or else he is unduly excited in the en- 
deavour to grasp something. For one reason or an- 
other he is always in a state of unnecessary agita- 
tion, usually about the merest trifle. This means 
that he is all the time wasting force, frittering away 
vainly that for the profitable use of which he is defi- 
nitely responsible — that which might make him 
healthier and happier. 

Another way in which he wastes a vast amount of 
energy is by unnecessary argument; he is always try- 
ing to make somebody else agree with his opinions. 
He forgets that there are always several sides to any 
question, whether it be of religion, of politics, or of 
expediency, that the other man has a perfect right to 
his own point of view, and that anyhow it does not 
matter, since the facts of the case will remain the 


same, whatever either of them may think. The 
great majority of the subjects about which men 
argue are not in the least worth the trouble of dis- 
cussion, and those who talk most loudly and most 
confidently about them are usually precisely those 
who know least. 

The man who wishes to do useful work, either 
for himself or for others, by means of thought- 
power, must conserve his energies; he must be calm 
and philosophic; he must consider carefully before 
he speaks or acts. But let no one doubt that the 
power is a mighty one, that any one who will take 
the trouble may learn how to use it, and that by its 
use each one of us may make much progress and 
may do much good to the world around him. 

You should understand this power of thought, and 
the duty of repressing evil, unkind or selfish thoughts. 
Thoughts will produce their effect, whether we wish 
it or not. Each time you control them it makes con- 
trol easier. Sending out of thoughts to others is as 
real as giving money; and it is a form of charity 
which is possible for the poorest of men. A wise man 
produces his results intentionally. To radiate de- 
pression is wrong, and it prevents higher thoughts 
from coming in. It causes much suffering to sensitive 
people, and is responsible for much of the terror of 
children at night. It is not right to cloud a young 
life, as so many do, by allowing bad and miserable 
thoughts to fall upon it. Forget your depression, 
and send strengthening thoughts to sick people in- 

Your thoughts are not (as you might suppose) ex- 
clusively your own business, for your vibrations 
affect others. Evil thoughts reach much farther 
than evil words, but they cannot affect a man who is 


entirely free from the quality which they carry. 
The thought of the desire for drink could not enter 
the body of a purely temperate man, for example. It 
would strike upon his astral body, but it could not 
penetrate, and it would then return to the sender. 

The will can be trained to act directly upon 
physical matter. The example of this which is most 
likely to be within your own experience is that a 
picture which is much used for purposes of medita- 
tion may often be observed to change in expression; 
the actual physical particles are unquestionably 
affected by the power of the strong sustained thought. 
Madame Blavatsky used to make her pupils practise 
this, telling them to suspend a needle by a silk 
thread, and then learn to move it by the force of the 
will. A sculptor also uses this power of thought in 
an entirely different way. When he sees a block of 
marble he makes a strong thought-form of the statue 
which he can carve out of it. Then he plants this 
thought-form inside the block of marble, and pro- 
ceeds to chip away the marble which lies outside the 
thought-form, until only that portion of it which is 
interpenetrated by it remains. 

Make it a practice to set apart a little time each 
day which shall be devoted to formulating good 
thoughts about other people, and sending them to 
them. It is capital practice for you, and it will un- 
questionably do good to your patients also. 


Intuition and Impulse 

You ask how you are to distinguish impulse from 
intuition. I fully appreciate your dilemma. At first 
it is difficult for the student to do this, but take com- 
fort from the thought that the difficulty of decision 
is only a temporary matter. As you grow you will 
reach a stage at which you will be absolutely certain 
with regard to intuition, for the distinction between 
that and impulse will be so clear that mistake will 
be impossible. 

But since both come to the brain from within, they 
seem at first exactly alike, and therefore great care 
is necessary, and it is hard to arrive at a decision. 
One or two considerations may perhaps help you. I 
have heard Mrs. Besant say that it is well always to 
wait awhile whenever the circumstances permit such 
a course, because if we wait a little an impulse usually 
grows weaker, while an intuition is unaffected by the 
passage of time. Then an impulse is almost always 
accompanied by excitement; there is always some- 
thing personal about it, so that if it is not at once 
obeyed — if anything crosses it — there arises a feel- 
ing of resentment; whereas a true intuition, though 
decided, is surrounded by a sense of calm strength. 
The impulse is a surging of the astral body; the in- 
tuition is a scrap of knowledge from the ego im- 
pressed upon the personality. 

Sometimes the sudden impression is not really from 
within at all, but from without; a message or sugges- 
tion from some one on a higher plane — most com- 
monly some passing dead person, or perhaps a de- 


parted relation. It is well to treat such advice pre- 
cisely as though it were given on the physical plane — 
to take it if it commends itself to our reason, and 
ignore it if it does not; for a person is not neces- 
sarily wiser than we merely because he happens to 
be dead. In this matter as in all others we must 
regulate our actions by strong, sturdy common-sense, 
and not rush off wildly after imaginations and dreams. 
At this stage I should advise you always to follow 
reason when you are certain of the premises from 
which you reason. You will learn in time and by ex- 
perience whether your intuitions can invariably be 
trusted. The mere impulse has its birth in the astral 
body, while the true intuition comes directly from 
the higher mental plane, or sometimes even from the 
buddhic. Of course the latter, if you could only be 
sure of it, might be followed without the slightest 
hesitation, but in this transition stage through which 
you are passing one is compelled to take a certain 
amount of risk — either that of sometimes missing a 
gleam of higher truth through clinging too closely 
to the reason, or that of being occasionally misled 
by mistaking an impulse from an intuition. Myself, 
I have so deep-rooted a horror of this last possibility 
that I have again and again followed reason as 
against intuition, and it was only after repeatedly 
finding that a certain type of intuition was always 
correct that I allowed myself to depend fully upon 
it. You too will no doubt pass through these suc- 
cessive stages, and you need not be in the least 
troubled about it. 



In the higher levels of the mental plane our 
thoughts act with greater force because we have the 
field almost to ourselves. We have not many other 
thoughts to contend with in that region. All people 
when thinking of the same thing tend to come to some 
extent into rapport with one another. Any strong 
thought anywhere in the world may be attracted to 
you, and you may be influenced by the thinker of it. 
Strong thought acts fairly constantly, and is more 
likely to act in connection with those subjects about 
which comparatively few are thinking, because in 
those cases the vibrations are more distinctive, and 
have freer play. Any sudden idea or vision which 
comes to you may be simply the thought-form of 
some person who is keenly interested in the subject 
in hand. The person may be at any distance from 
you, though it is true that physical proximity makes 
such transference easier. 

There is such a thing as a kind of psychometrisa- 
tion of a thought-form. Masses of thought on a 
given subject are very definite things, which have a 
place in space. Thoughts on the same subject and of 
the same character tend to aggregate. For many sub- 
jects there is a thought-centre, a definite space in the 
atmosphere; and thoughts on one of these subjects 
tend to gravitate to its centre, which absorbs any 
amount of ideas, coherent and incoherent, right and 
wrong. In this definite centre you would find all ths 
thought about a given subject drawn to a focus, and 
might then psychometrise the different thought 


forms, follow them to their thinkers, and acquire 
other information from them. 

It is easy to see that when one thinks of something 
a little difficult, one may attract the thought of an- 
other person who has studied the same subject, and 
even the person himself if he be on the astral plane. 
In the latter case the person may be either conscious 
or unconscious. Plenty of people, either dead or 
asleep, do try to help others along their particular 
lines; any one of such, seeing another struggling with 
some kind of conception, would be likely to go and 
try to suggest the way in which he thinks that other 
man ought to think of it. It does not follow, of course, 
that his ideas would be correct. 

If you think you will see that this is perfectly 
natural. You would help people on this physical plane 
simply from pure good-nature. So also after death. 
You feel the same sympathies without a physical body ; 
and though your idea may be wrong or right, you 
give it. I do not know of any method that is open 
to the ordinary student for ascertaining the exact 
source of an idea which strikes him. One has to de- 
velope the astral and mental sight in order to see the 
thought-form, and trace from whom it comes. It is 
connected by vibration with its creator. 

Sometimes such an idea may come in symbolic 
form; the serpent and elephant, for example, are 
often used to signify wisdom. There are many sets 
of symbolisms. Each ego has his own system, 
though some forms seem general in dreams. It is 
said that to dream of water signifies trouble of some 
sort, though I do not see any connection. But even 
though there be no real connection, an ego (or for 
that matter some other entity who desires to com- 
municate) may use the symbol if he knows that it is 


understood by the personality. Water has no neces- 
sary relation to trouble, but an ego who could not 
convey a clear message to his personality, and knew 
that it held that peculiar belief about water, might 
very likely impress such a dream on its brain when 
he wished to warn it of some impending misfortune. 
When a passing thought crosses the mind, it is 
usually caused by suggestion. The power or thought 
and the multiplicity of thought-forms are tremen- 
dously great, and yet they are but little understood 
and taken into account. 

In the case of a particular idea coming into the 
mind, any one of half-a-dozen things may have hap- 
pened. It is only speculation to offer suggestions in 
any particular case without actual knowledge of what 
took place. One is quite likely to be affected by one's 
own thought-forms. You may make thought-forms 
about a subject which will hover about you and per- 
sist proportionately to the energy you put into them; 
and these often react upon you just as though they 
were new suggestions from outside. In a place like 
Adyar any new-comer will find a mass of thought- 
forms already floating about, and probably he may 
accept some of these ready-made rather than set to 
work to produce new ones for himself. One should 
take up thought-forms with caution. I have seen a 
man take up thought-forms and be converted by 
them when they were quite wrong, and he himself 
had before been perfectly accurate in his opinion. 
Sometimes, however, it is advantageous to try to put 
oneself in touch with a thought-form at the beginning 
of study. 

There are upon the astral plane vast numbers of 
thought-forms of a comparatively permanent nature, 
often the result of the accumulative work of many 


generations of people. Many such thought-forms 
refer to alleged religious history, and the seeing of 
them by sensitive people is responsible for a great 
many quite genuine accounts given by untrained seers 
and seeresses — such for example as Anne Catherine 
Emmerich. She had visions in the most perfect detail 
of the events of the passion of Jesus exactly as it is 
recorded in the Gospels, including many events which 
we know never really occurred. Yet I have no doubt 
that the statements of that seeress were perfectly 
genuine; she was not labouring under an hallucina- 
tion, but only under a mistake as to the nature of 
what she saw. 

To read the records clearly and correctly needs 
special training ; it is not a matter of faith or of good- 
ness, but of a special kind of knowledge. There is 
nothing whatever to show that the saint in question 
had this particular form of knowledge; on the con- 
trary, she probably never heard of such records at all. 
She would therefore most likely be quite incapable of 
reading a record clearly, and certainly, if she did 
happen to see one, she would be unable to distinguish 
it from any other kind of vision. 

In all probability what she saw was a set of such 
collective thought-forms as we have described. It is 
well-known to all investigators that any great histori- 
cal event upon which much is supposed to depend has 
been constantly thought of and vividly imaged to them- 
selves by successive generations of people. Such 
scenes would be, for the English, the signing of 
Magna Charta by King John, and for the Americans 
the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

Now these vivid images which people make are real 
things, and are clearly to be seen by anyone who 
possesses a little psychic development. They are 


definite forms existing in the first place upon the 
mental plane, and wherever there is any strong emo- 
tion connected with them they are brought down to 
the astral plane and materialised there in astral 
matter. They are also perpetually strengthened by all 
the new thoughts which are ever being turned upon 
them. Naturally, different people imagine these 
scenes differently, and the eventual result is often 
something like a composite photograph; but the form 
in which such an imagination was originally cast 
largely influences the thought of all sensitives upon 
the subject, and tends to make them image it as others 
have done. 

This product of thought (often, be it observed, of 
quite ignorant thought) is much easier to see than the 
true record, for while, as we have said, the latter feat 
requires training, the former needs nothing but a 
glimpse of the mental plane, such as frequently comes 
to almost all pure and high-minded ecstatics. Indeed 
in many cases it does not need even this, because the 
thought-forms exist upon the astral levels as well. 

Another point to be borne in mind is that it is not 
in the least necessary for the creation of such a 
thought-form that the scenes should ever have had any 
real existence. Few scenes from real history have 
been so strongly depicted by popular fancy in England 
as have some of the situations from Shakespeare's 
plays, from Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and from 
various fairy stories, such as Cinderella or Aladdin's 
Lamp. A clairvoyant obtaining a glimpse of one of 
these collective thought-forms might very easily sup- 
pose that he had come across the real foundation of 
the story; but since he knows these tales to be fictions 
he would be more likely to think that he had simply 
dreamt of them. 


Now, ever since the Christian religion materialised 
the glorious conceptions originally committed to its 
charge, and tried to represent them as a series of 
events in a human life, devout souls in all countries 
under its sway have been striving as a pious exercise 
to picture the supposed events as vividly as possible. 
Consequently we are here provided with a set of 
thought-forms of quite exceptional strength and 
prominence — a set which can hardly fail to attract 
the attention of any ecstatic the bent of whose mind 
is at all in their direction. No doubt they were seen 
by Anne Catherine Emmerich, and by many another. 
But when such clairvoyants come, in the course of 
their progress, to deal with the realities of life, they 
will be taught, as are those who have the inestimable 
privilege of the guidance of the Masters of Wisdom, 
how to distinguish between the result of devout but 
ignorant thought and the imperishable record which 
is the true memory of nature; and then they will find 
that these scenes, to which they have devoted so much 
attention, were but symbols of truths higher and wider 
and grander far than they had ever dreamt, even in 
the highest flights which were made possible for 
them by their splendid purity and piety. 

Thought and Elemental Essence 

Elemental essence when moulded by thought 
adopts a certain colour — a colour which is expressive 
of the nature of the thought or feeling. Of course all 
that this really means is that the essence composing 
the thought-form is for the time compelled to vibrate 


at a certain definite rate by the thought which is en- 
souling it. The evolution of the elemental essence is 
to learn to respond to all possible rates of undula- 
tion; when therefore a thought holds it for a time 
vibrating at a certain rate, it is helped to this extent, 
that it has now become habituated to that particular 
rate of oscillation, so that next time it comes within 
reach of a similar one, it will respond to it much 
more readily than before. 

Presently those atoms of essence, having passed back 
again into the general mass, will be caught up again 
by some other thought, and will then have to swing 
at some totally different rate, and so will evolve a 
little further by acquiring the capacity to respond to 
the second type of undulation. So by slow degrees the 
thoughts, not only of man, but also of nature-spirits 
and devas, and even of animals so far as they do think, 
are evolving the elemental essence which surrounds 
them — slowly teaching here a few atoms, and there 
a few atoms, to respond to this or that different rate 
of oscillation, until at last a stage will be reached 
when all the particles of the essence shall be ready to 
answer at any moment to any possible rate of vibra- 
tion, and that will be the completion of their evolution. 

It is for this reason that the occultist avoids when 
possible the destruction of an artificial elemental, 
even when it is of evil character, preferring rather 
to defend himself or others against it by using the 
protection of a shell. It is possible to dissipate an 
artificial elemental instantly by an exertion of will- 
power, just as it is possible on the physical plane to 
kill a poisonous snake in order that it may do no fur- 
ther harm; but neither course of action would com- 
mend itself to an occultist, except in very unusual cir- 


Whether the thought ensouling it is evil or good 
makes no difference whatever to the essence; all that 
is required for its development is to be used by 
thought of some kind. The difference between the 
good and the evil would be shown by the quality of 
essence which it affected, the evil thought or desire 
needing for its appropriate expression the coarser or 
denser matter, while the higher thought would re- 
quire correspondingly finer and more rapidly vibrat- 
ing matter for its covering. There are plenty of un- 
developed people always thinking the coarser lower 
thoughts, and their very ignorance and grossness are 
made use of by the great Law as evolutionary forces 
to help on a certain stage of the work that is to be 
done. It is for us, who have learnt a little more than 
they, to strive ever to think the high and holy thoughts 
which cause the evolution of a finer kind of elemental 
matter, and so to work in a field where at present the 
labourers are far too few. 

Jfcurilj J^eciton 

IJsgcfytc faculties 


Psychic Powers 

^|HE possession of psychic powers does not 
necessarily involve high moral character, 
any more than does the possession of 
great physical strength. It is quite true 
that the man who enters the Path of Holi- 
ness will presently find such powers developing in 
him, but it is quite possible to gain many of the 
powers without the holiness. Powers can be developed 
by any one who will take the trouble, and a man may 
learn clairvoyance or mesmerism just as he may learn 
to play the piano, if he is willing to go through the 
necessary hard work. It is far better and safer for 
the vast majority of people to work at the develop- 
ment of character, to try to fit themselves for the Path, 
and to leave the powers to unfold in due course, as 
they certainly will. Some people are in too much of 
a hurry to do this, and set themselves to force the 
powers sooner. Well, if they are quite certain that 
they desire them only for the sake of helping others, 
and that they are wise enough to use them rightly, it 
may be that no harm will come of it; but it is not 
easy to be quite certain on these points, and the slight- 
est deflection from the right line will mean disaster. 
If a man must try to obtain the powers, there are 


two ways open to him ; of course there are many more 
than two methods, but I mean that they all fall under 
two heads — the temporary and the permanent. The 
temporary method is to deaden the physical senses in 
some way — actively by drugs, by self-hypnotisation, or 
by inducing giddiness, for example, or passively by de- 
ing mesmerised — so that the astral senses may come to 
the surface. The permanent way is to work at the de- 
velopment of the ego, so that he may be able to con- 
trol the lower vehicles and use them as he wishes. 

It is somewhat like controlling a troublesome horse. 
A man who knows nothing of riding may so stupefy a 
horse with drugs that he can sumehow keep on his 
back, but that will not in the least enable him to con- 
trol any other horse. So a man who stupefies his 
physical body may use his astral senses to some ex- 
tent, but that will in no way help him to manage an- 
other physical body in his next birth. The man who 
will take the far greater trouble of learning to ride 
properly can then manage any horse, and the man 
who developes his ego until it can manage one set of 
vehicles will be able to control any others that are 
given to him in future lives. This latter course means 
real evolution; the other does not necessarily involve 
anything of the sort. It does not follow that every- 
one who is on the Path must have psychic powers ; 
they are not absolutely necessary until a certain stage 
of it is reached. 

Short of the real psychic powers there are various 
other methods by which men endeavour to obtain some 
of the same results. One of these, for example, is the 
repetition of invocations. Charms and ceremonies 
may sometimes produce an effect ; it depends upon the 
way in which they are performed. I have seen a man 
who was able to answer questions in rather a curious 


way; he first entranced himself by repeating charms 
over and over again, and his invocations not only in- 
fluenced himself, but also attracted nature-spirits who 
went for the desired information, obtained it and put 
it into his mind. 

Lord Tennyson, by repeating his own name over 
and over again and drawing his consciousness further 
and further within himself, raised himself into touch 
with the ego, and then all this life seemed to him 
child's play, and death nothing but the entrance into 
a greater life. 

The result of many repetitions may often be to 
throw oneself into the trance condition ; but this is not 
a training of the e~o. Its effects last at most only for 
one life, whereas the powers which result from real 
spiritual development reappear in subsequent bodies. 
The man who entrances himself by the repetition of 
words or charms may probably return as a medium 
or at least a mediumistic person in his next life, and 
it must be remembered that mediumship is not a 
power, but a condition. 

Such repetitions may easily lead on to the coarser 
physical mediumship (by which I mean the sitting for 
materialisation and sensational phenomena of all sorts) 
which is frequently injurious to health. I do not know 
that mere trance-speaking injures the body quite so 
much, though considering the feebleness of the plati- 
tudes which are usually the staple of the communica- 
tions it might certainly be thought likely to weaken 
the mind ! 

Let us consider what it is that is required from a 
physical medium. When an entity on the astral plane, 
whether it be a dead man or a nature-spirit, wants to 
produce any result on dense physical matter — to play 
on a piano for example, to cause raps, or to hold a 


pencil in order to write — he needs an etheric body 
through which to work, because astral matter cannot 
act directly on the lower forms of physical matter, 
but requires the etheric matter as an intermediary to 
convey the vibrations from the one to the other — much 
in the same way as a fire cannot be lighted with paper 
and coals alone ; the wood is needed as an intermediary, 
otherwise the paper will all burn away without affect- 
ing the coal. 

That which constitutes a man a physical medium is 
a want of cohesion between the etheric and the dense 
parts of the physical vehicle, so that an astral entity 
can easily withdraw a good deal of the man's etheric 
body and use it for his own purposes. Of course he 
returns it — in fact its constant tendency is to flow 
back to the medium, as may be seen from the action 
of the materialised form — but still the frequent with- 
drawal of part of the man's body in this way cannot 
but cause great disturbance and danger to his health. 

The etheric double is the vehicle of vitality, the life- 
principle, which is perpetually circulating through 
our bodies; and when any part of our etheric double 
is withdrawn that life-circulation is checked and its 
current broken. A terrible drain on vitality is then 
set up, and that is why the medium is so often in a 
state of collapse after a seance, and also why so many 
mediums in the long run become drunkards, having 
first taken to stimulants in order to satisfy the dread- 
ful craving for support which is caused by this sudden 
loss of strength. 

It can never under any circumstances be a good 
thing for the health to be constantly subjected to such 
a drain as this, even though in some cases the more in- 
telligent and careful "spirits" try to pour strength 
into their medium after a seance, in order to make up 


for the less, and thus support him without absolute 
breakdown for a much longer period than would 
otherwise be possible. 

In cases of materialisation, dense physical matter, 
probably chiefly in the form of gases or liquids, is 
frequently borrowed from the body of the medium, 
who actually decreases temporarily in size and weight ; 
and when it takes place, naturally that is a further 
source of serious disturbance to all the functions. 

Of the mediums with whom I used to have sittings 
thirty years ago one is now blind, another died a con- 
firmed drunkard, and a third, finding himself menaced 
by apoplexy and paralysis, escaped with his life only 
by giving up seances altogether. 

Another form of materialisation is that in which 
the astral body is temporarily solidified. The ordi- 
nary materialising "spirit" takes his material from 
the medium, because that, being already specialised, 
is more easily arranged into human form, and more 
readily condensed and moulded than free ether would 
be. No one connected with any school of white magic 
would think it right to interfere with the etheric 
double of any man in order to produce a materialisa- 
tion, nor would he disturb his own if he wished to 
make himself visible at a distance. He would simply 
condense, and build into and around his astral body 
a sufficient quantity of the surrounding ether to ma- 
terialise it, and hold it in that form by an effort of 
will as long as he needed it. 

When part of the etheric double is removed from 
the physical, as in the case of materialisation of the 
ordinary kind, a connecting current is visible to any 
one capable of seeing matter in the etheric condition; 
but the method of connection with the astral body is 
entirely different, for nothing in the nature of a cord 


or current of astral matter joins the two forms. Yet 
it is difficult to express in terms of this plane the 
exact nature of the exceeding closeness of the sym- 
pathy between them; perhaps the nearest approxima- 
tion we can get to the idea is that of two instru- 
ments tuned to exactly the same pitch, so that what- 
ever note is struck upon one of them instantly evokes 
a precisely corresponding sound from the other. 

There is no harm in using will-power to cure dis- 
eases, so long as no money or other consideration is 
taken for what is done. There are several methods; 
the simplest is the pouring in of vitality. Nature 
will cure most diseases if the man can be strengthened 
and supported while she is left to do her work. This 
is especially true of the various nervous diseases which 
are so painfully common at the present day. The 
rest-cure, which is often advised for them, is quite 
the best thing that can be suggested, but recovery 
might often be greatly hastened if vitality were 
poured into the patient in addition. Any man who 
has surplus vitality may direct it by his will to a par- 
ticular person; when he is not doing that, it simply 
radiates from him in all directions, flowing out 
principally through the hands. If a man is depleted 
of strength so that his spleen does not do its work 
properly, the pouring in of specialised vitality is often 
of the greatest help to him in keeping the machinery 
of the body going until he is able to manufacture it 
for himself. 

Many minor diseases can be cured merely by in- 
creasing the circulation of the vitality. A headache, 
for example, is generally due either to a slight con- 
gestion of blood, or to a similar congestion of the vital 
fluid; in either case a clairvoyant who can see the ob- 
struction may deal with it by sending a strong current 


through the head, and washing away the congested 
matter. A man who cannot see can also produce this 
result, but since he does not know exactly where to 
direct this force he generally wastes a great deal of it. 

Sometimes people perform cures by imposing their 
own magnetic conditions upon others. This is based 
on the theory (which is quite correct) that all disease 
is inharmony of some sort, and that if perfect har- 
mony can be restored the disease will disappear. So 
in this case the person who wishes to effect a cure 
first raises his own vibrations to the highest degree 
which is possible for him, fills himself with thoughts 
of love and health and harmony, and then proceeds 
to enfold the patient within his aura, the idea being 
that his own powerful vibrations will overbear those 
of the patient, and gradually bring him into the same 
harmonious and healthy condition. This method is 
often effective, but we must remember that it involves 
imposing the whole of the personality of the magne- 
tiser upon the patient, which may not always be de- 
sirable for either of the persons concerned. 

One should take care not to be caught or entangled 
on the astral plane, as a man easily may be, and that 
through his virtues as well as his vices, if he be not 
exceedingly cautious. For example, it is possible to 
affect others by thought, and thus obtain whatever is 
wanted from them, and the temptation of this power 
to an ordinary man would be overwhelming. Again, 
you could easily force those whom you love out of a 
wrong path into a right one if you wished, but tiiis 
you must not do; you may only persuade and argue. 
Here again is a temptation. You may by force pre- 
vent your friend from doing wrong, but often the 
weakening effect of the compulsion on his mind will 
do him more harm than the wrong-doing from which 


you save him. Drunkenness can be cured by mesmer- 
ising the man, but it is far better to persuade him 
gradually to conquer the weakness for himself, since 
this is a thing which he will have to do in some life. 
It is said that in some cases the man has yielded 
himself to this awful habit for so long that his will- 
power is entirely in abeyance, and he actually has not 
the strength to refrain; and it is claimed that for 
such a man mesmerism is necessary, for it is the only 
method of giving him an opportunity to reassert him- 
self as a human being, and to regain some sort of con- 
trol of his vehicles. This may be so, and I can well 
understand the desire to save by any lawful means 
the soul which has come to so dire a pass; yet even 
then I would counsel the greatest care in the use of 
mesmerism, and in the choice of the mesmerist. 

A man can use the faculties of his astral body 
without moving away from his physical vehicle. That 
is called the possession of astral powers in the wak- 
ing state, and is a definite stage in development. 
But it is more usual for the astral body to leave 
the physical when it is intended to operate or ob- 
serve at a distance from the physical body. 

The Indian term "sky-walker" generally refers 
only to one who is able thus to travel in his astral 
body. But sometimes also it means levitation, in 
which the physical body is lifted and floats in the 
air. In India this happens to some ascetics, and 
some of the greatest of Christian saints have in deep 
meditation been thus raised from the ground. It in- 
volves, however, the expenditure of a good deal of 
force. When a disciple is commissioned to undertaks 
some special work for humanity, the adepts may 
give to him for the purpose some extra force, but 
though he is left free to use it as he pleases ; he 


must not fritter it away uselessly. So it happens 
that even those who can produce these strange 
effects at will do not do so to amuse themselves or 
others, but only for real work. It would be quite 
possible for some disciple to use this force for the 
purpose of carrying his physical body through the 
air to a distant place; but as that would mean a 
tremendous expenditure of force, it is not likely 
that he would so use it unless definitely directed to 
do so. 

On the other hand there have been cases in which 
such powers were used — for example, to save a man 
from undeserved suffering. There was once a case 
in which a young man was accused of the forgery of 
an important document. He was to a certain extent 
technically guilty, although quite innocent of any 
evil intention. He had very foolishly imitated a cer- 
tain signature upon a blank sheet of paper, and then 
some one who was unfriendly to him had obtained 
possession of the sheet of paper, written in certain 
instructions above the signature, and then cleverly 
cut the paper so as to make it appear to be a letter 
conveying orders. The accused had to admit that 
the signature was in his writing; but his account of 
the circumstances under which it was written was 
not unnaturally disbelieved, and it seemed impossi- 
ble for him to escape the most terrible consequences. 
But it happened that one of our Masters was called 
as a witness to testify to the handwriting of the 
prisoner. The sheet was handed to Him with the 
question : 

"Do you recognise that handwriting as that of the 

The Master just glanced at it, and instantly re- 
turned it, saying: 


"Is this the sheet which you intended to give me?" 
In that instant the sheet had become an absolute 
blank! The counsel for the prosecution of course 
supposed that in some utterly incomprehensible way 
he had mislaid the paper; but for want of it the 
prosecution fell through, and so the young man was, 


The possession of clairvoyant power is a very 
great privilege and a very great advantage, and if 
properly and sensibly used it may be a blessing and a 
help to its fortunate holder, just as surely as, if it is 
misused, it may often be a hindrance and a curse. The 
principal dangers attendant upon it arise from pride, 
ignorance, and impurity, and if these be avoided, as 
they easily may be, nothing but good can come from it. 

Pride is the first great danger. The possession 
of a faculty which, though it is the heritage of the 
whole human race, is as yet manifested only very 
occasionally, often causes the ignorant clairvoyant 
to feel himself (or still more frequently herself) 
exalted above his fellows, chosen by the Almighty 
for some mission of world-wide importance, dowered 
with a discernment that can never err, selected under 
angelic guidance to be the founder of a new dispen- 
sation, and so on. It should be remembered that 
there are always plenty of sportive and mischievous 
entities on the other side of the veil who are ready 
and even anxious to foster all such delusions, to v e- 


fleet and embody all such thoughts, and to fill what- 
ever role of archangel or spirit-guide may happen to 
foe suggested to them. Unfortunately it is so fatally 
easy to persuade the average man that he really is 
a very fine fellow at bottom, and quite worthy to 
be the recipient of a special revelation, even though 
his friends have through blindness or prejudice 
somehow failed hitherto to appreciate him. 

Another danger, perhaps the greatest of all be- 
cause it is the mother of all others, is ignorance. If 
the clairvoyant knows anything of the history of his 
subject, if he at all understands the conditions of 
those other planes into which his vision is penetrat- 
ing, he cannot of course suppose himself the only 
person who was ever so highly favoured, nor can 
he feel with self-complacent certainty that it is im- 
possible for him to mistake. But when he is, as so 
many are, in the densest ignorance as to history, 
conditions and everything else, he is liable in the first 
place to make all kinds of mistakes as to what he 
sees, and secondly to be the easy prey of all sorts 
of designing and deceptive entities from the astral 
plane. He has no criterion by which to judge what 
he sees, or thinks he sees, no test to apply to his 
visions or communications, and so he has no sense 
of relative proportion or the fitness of things, and 
he magnifies a copy-book maxim into a fragment of 
divine wisdom, a platitude of the most ordinary 
type into an angelic message. Then again, for want 
of common knowledge on scientific subjects he will 
often utterly misunderstand what his faculties en- 
able him to perceive, and he will in consequence 
gravely promulgate the grossest absurdities. 

The third danger is that of impurity. The man 
who is pure in thought and life, pure in intention 


and free from the taint of selfishness, is by that very 
fact guarded from the influence of undesirable 
entities from other planes. There is in him nothing 
upon which they can play; he is no fit medium for 
them. On the other hand all good influences natur- 
ally surround such a man, and hasten to use him as 
a channel through which they may act, and thus a 
still further barrier is erected about him against ail 
which is mean and low and evil. The man of impure 
life or motive, on the contrary, inevitably attracts 
to himself all that is worst in the invisible world 
which so closely surrounds us; he responds readily 
to it, while it will be hardly possible for the forces 
of good to make any impression upon him. 

But a clairvoyant who will bear in mind all these 
dangers, and strive to avoid them, who will take the 
trouble to study the history and the rationale of 
clairvoyance, who will see to it that his heart is 
humble and his motives are pure — such a man may 
assuredly learn very much from these powers of 
which he finds himself in possession, and may make 
them of the greatest use to him in the work which 
he has to do. 

Having first taken good heed to the training of his 
character, let him observe and note down carefully 
any visions which come to him; let him patiently 
endeavour to disentangle the core of truth in them 
from the various accretions and exaggerations which 
are sure at first to be almost inextricably confused 
with them; let him in every possible way test and 
check them and endeavour to ascertain which of 
them are reliable, and in what way these reliable 
ones differ from others which have proved less trust- 
worthy — and he will very soon find himself evolving 
order out of chaos, and learning to distinguish what 


he can trust and what he must for the present put 
aside as incomprehensible. 

He will probably find in course of time that he 
gets impressions, whether by direct sight or only by 
feeling, in reference to the various people with whom 
he comes into contact. Once more the careful noting 
down of every such impression as soon as it occurs, 
and the impartial testing and checking of it as op- 
portunity offers, will soon show our friend how far 
these feelings or visions are to be relied on; and as 
soon as he finds that they are correct and depend- 
able he has made a very great advance, for he is in 
possession of a power which enables him to be of far 
more use to those among whom his work lies than 
he could be if he knew only as much about them as 
can be seen by the ordinary eye. 

If, for example, his sight includes the auras of 
those around him, he can judge from what it shows 
him how best to deal with them, how to bring out 
their latent good qualities, how to strengthen their 
weaknesses, how to repress what is undesirable in 
their characters. Again, his power may often enable 
him to observe something of the processes of nature, 
to see something of the working of the non-human 
evolutions which surround us, and thus to acquire 
most valuable knowledge on all kinds of recondite 
subjects. If he happens to be personally acquainted 
with some clairvoyant who has been put under regu- 
lar training he has of course a great advantage, in 
that he can without difficulty get his visions ex- 
amined and tested by one upon whom he can rely. 

Generally speaking, then, the course to be recom- 
mended to the untrained clairvoyant is that of ex- 
ceeding patience and much watchfulness; but with 
this hope ever before his eyes, that assuredly if he 


makes use of the talent entrusted to him it cannot 
but attract the favourable notice of Those who are 
ever watching for instruments which can be em- 
ployed in the great work of evolution, and that when 
the right time comes he will receive the training 
which he so earnestly desires, and will thus be en- 
abled definitely to become one of those who help 
the world. 

Special training should be arranged from early 
childhood for clairvoyant children. The modern 
system of education tends to suppress all psychic 
faculties, and most young people are overstrained by 
their studies. In Greece and Rome these psychic 
children were promptly isolated as vestal virgins or 
postulants for the priesthood, and specially trained. 
There is a natural tendency in the present day, apart 
from education, to repress these faculties. The best 
way to prevent the loss of these to the world is to 
put the boys into some sort of monastery where the 
monks know about the higher life and try to live it, 
for family life is not suitable for this development. 
Where such clairvoyance appears it ought to be en- 
couraged, for many additional investigators are 
wanted for the Society's work, and those who begin 
young are likely to adapt themselves to it most 

People who are psychic by birth generally use the 
etheric double a great deal. People who possess 
what has sometimes been called "etheric sight" — 
that is, sight capable of observing physical matter in 
a state of exceedingly fine subdivision, though not 
yet capable of discerning the subtler matter of the 
astral plane — frequently see, when they look keenly 
at any exposed portion of the human body, such as 
the face or the hand, multitudes of tiny forms, such 


as dice, stars, and double pyramids. These belong 
neither to the thought-plane nor to the astral, but 
are purely physical, though of exceeding minuteness. 
They are simply the physical emanation from the 
body, which is always taking place — the waste mat- 
ter, consisting largely of finely-divided salts, which 
is constantly being thrown out in this manner. The 
character of these tiny particles varies from many 
causes. Naturally loss of health often alters them 
entirely, but any wave of emotion will affect them 
to a greater or lesser extent, and they even respond 
to the influence of any definite train of thought. 

Professor Gates is reported as saying (a) that the 
material emanations of the living body differ accord- 
ing to the states of the mind as well as the con- 
ditions of the physical health; (b) that these emana- 
tions can be tested by the chemical reactions of some 
salts of selenium; (c) that these reactions are 
characterised by various tints or colours according to 
the nature of the mental impressions; (d) that forty 
different emotion-products, as he calls them, have al- 
ready been obtained. 

People sometimes see animated particles quivering 
with intense rapidity, and dashing about in the air 
before them. This again shows the possession of 
much increased physical power, not of mental. It is 
unfortunately only too common for the person who 
gains for the first time a glimpse of astral or even 
of etheric matter to jump at once to the conclusion 
that he is at least upon the mental level, if not upon 
the nirvanic, and holds in his hand the key to all the 
mysteries of the entire solar system. All that will 
come in good time, and these grander vistas will as- 
suredly open before him one day; but he will hasten 
the coming of that desirable consummation if he 


makes sure of each step as he takes it, and tries fully 
to understand and make the best of what he has, be- 
fore desiring more. Those who begin their experi- 
ence with nirvanic vision are few and far between; 
for most of us, progress must be slow and steady, 
and the safest motto for us is festina lente. 

I should not advise anyone to allow himself to be 
thrown into mesmeric sleep for the purpose of gain- 
ing clairvoyant experiences. The domination of the 
will by that of another produces effects that few peo- 
ple realise. The will of the victim becomes weaker, 
and is more liable to be acted upon by others. In 
the scheme of things no man is forced to do any- 
thing; he is taught by receiving always the result of 
his actions; and it is better to allow clairvoyant 
powers to come gradually in the natural course of 
evolution, rather than to try to force them in any 

We must not always assume that a man who sees 
something pertaining to higher planes is necessarily 
becoming clairvoyant. By clairvoyance, for example, 
we may undoubtedly see an apparition, but on the 
other hand there are various other ways in which a 
man may see or suppose himself to see something 
which to him would be exactly the same as an appari- 

The apparition of a dead person may be (a) one's 
own imagination, (b) a thought-form produced by 
another person, (c) or by the person seen, (d) an 
impersonation, (e) the etheric double of the person, 
or (/) the real person actually there. In the last 
case one of three things must have happened — 
that is, supposing that the apparition is a dead or 
sleeping person in his astral body, and that the man 
who sees him is himself in his physical body and 


wide awake. Either (a) the dead man has mate- 
rialised himself, in which case of course he is for the 
time a physical object, which may be seen by any 
number of people with ordinary physical sight; (o) 
the dead man is in his astral body, in which case only 
those possessing astral sight can perceive him; he 
has probably succeeded by some special effort in 
temporarily opening that sight for the person to 
whom he wishes to show himself, and is therefore 
most likely visible to that one person only, and not to 
any others who may happen to be present; or, (c) 
the dead man has mesmerised the living, so as to 
impose upon him the idea that he sees a figure which 
is not really visible to him, though it may be really 

If the apparition be an etheric double, it will not 
stray far away from the dense body to which it be- 
longs or used to belong. An unpractised apparition 
— one who is new to the astral plane — often shows 
traces of the habits of his earth-life. He will enter 
and depart by a door or a window, not yet realising 
that he can pass through the wall just as easily. I 
have even seen one squeeze through the crack of a 
locked door; he might as well have tried the key- 
hole! But he moves as he has been accustomed to 
move — as he thinks of himself as moving. For the 
same reason an apparition often walks upon the 
earth, when he might just as well float through the 

It is a mistake to think that if you see a vision, it 
must necessarily mean something for you, or be 
specially sent to you. If you for the moment become 
sensitive, you see what happens to be there. 

Suppose I am sitting in a room, and a curtain is 
drawn across the window, so that the street outside 


is invisible to me. Suppose the wind lifts the cur- 
tain for a moment, so that I get a glimpse of the 
street, I shall then see whatever happens to be pass- 
ing at that moment. Let us imagine that I see a little 
girl in a red cloak, carrying a basket. That little 
girl is probably going about her own business, or per- 
haps her mother's; should I not be very foolish if I 
chose to fancy that she had been sent there especially 
for me to see, and began to worry myself as to what 
could be symbolised by the red cloak and the basket? 
A flash of clairvoyance is usually just the accidental 
lifting of a curtain, and generally what is seen has 
no special relation to the seer. There may occasion- 
ally be instances in which the curtain is intentionally 
lifted by a friend because something of personal in- 
terest is passing; but we must not be too ready to 
assume that that is the case. 

Among the real psychic powers, however, which 
are attained by slow and careful self-development, 
there are some which are of very great interest. 
For example, for one who can function freely in the 
mental body there are methods of getting at the mean- 
ing of a book, quite apart from the ordinary process 
of reading it. The simplest is to read from the mind 
of one who has studied it; but this is open to the ob- 
jection that one gets not the real meaning of the work 
but that student's conception of the meaning, which 
may be by no means the same thing. A second plan 
is to examine the aura of the book — a phrase which 
needs a little explanation for those not practically 
acquainted with the hidden side of things. 

An ancient manuscript stands in this respect in a 
somewhat different position from a modern book. If 
it is not the original work of the author himself, it 
has at any rate been copied word by word by some 


person of a certain education and understanding, 
who knew the subject of the book, and had his own 
opinions about it. It must be remembered that copy- 
ing (done usually with a stylus) is almost as slow 
and emphatic as engraving; so that the writer in- 
evitably impresses his thought strongly on his handi- 
work. Any manuscript, therefore, even a new one, 
has always some sort of thought-aura about it which 
conveys its general meaning, or rather one man's 
idea of its meaning and his estimate of its value. 
Every time it is read by anyone an addition is made 
to that thought-aura, and if it be carefully studied 
the addition is naturally large and valuable. 

This is equally true of a printed volume. A book 
which has passed through many hands has an aura 
which is usually better balanced than that of a new 
one, because it is rounded off and completed by the 
divergent views brought to it by its many readers; 
consequently the psychometrisation of such a book 
generally yields a fairly full comprehension of its 
contents, though with a considerable fringe of 
opinions not expressed in the book, but held by its 
various readers. 

On the other hand, a book used in a public library 
is not infrequently as unpleasant psychically as it 
usually is physically, for it becomes loaded with all 
kinds of mixed magnetisms, many of them of a most 
unsavoury character. The sensitive person will do 
well to avoid such books, or if necessity compels him 
to use them he will be wise to touch them as little 
as may be, and rather to let them lie upon a table than 
to hold them in his hand. 

Another factor to be remembered with regard to 
such books is that a volume written upon a special 
subject is most likely to be read by a particular type 


of person, and these readers leave their impress upon 
the aura of the volume. Thus a book violently advo- 
cating some sectarian religious views is not read ex- 
cept by persons who sympathise with its narrowness, 
and so it soon developes a decidedly unpleasant aura; 
and in the same way a book of an indecent or prurient 
nature quickly becomes loathsome beyond description. 
Old books containing magical formulas are often for 
this reason most uncomfortable neighbours. Even 
the language in which a book is printed indirectly 
affects its aura, by limiting its readers largely to 
men of a certain nationality, and so by degrees en- 
dowing it with the more prominent characteristics of 
that nationality. 

In the case of a printed book there is no original 
copyist, so that at the beginning of its career it 
usually carries nothing but disjointed fragments of 
the thought of the binder and bookseller. Few read- 
ers at the present day seem to study so thoughtfully 
and thoroughly as did the men of old, and for that 
reason the thought-forms connected with a modern 
book are rarely so precise and clear-cut as those 
which surround the manuscripts of the past. 

The third method of reading requires some higher 
powers, in order to go behind the book or manu- 
script altogether and get at the mind of its author. 
If the book is in some foreign language, its subject 
entirely unknown, and there is no aura around it to 
give any helpful suggestion, the only way is to follow 
back its history to see from what it was copied (or 
set up in type, as the case may be) and so to trace 
out the line of its descent until one reaches its author. 
If the subject of the work be known, a less tedious 
method is to psychometrise that subject, get into the 
general current of thought about it, and so find the 


particular writer required, and see what he thinks. 
There is a sense in which all the ideas connected with 
a given subject may be said to be local — to be con- 
centrated round a certain point in space — so that by 
mentally visiting that point one can come into touch 
with all the converging streams of thought about 
that subject, though these are linked by millions of 
lines witn all sorts of other subjects. 

Another interesting power is that of magnification. 
There are two methods of magnification which may 
be used in connection with the clairvoyant faculty. 
One is simply an intensification of ordinary sight. It 
is obvious that when in common life we see anything, 
an impact of some sort is made upon the retina — upon 
its physical rods and cones. The effects there pro- 
duced, or the vibrations set up, are transmitted, in 
some way by no means thoroughly understood, by the 
optic nerve to the grey matter of the brain. Clearly, 
before the true man within can become conscious of 
what is seen, these impressions made upon the physi- 
cal brain-matter must be transmitted from that to the 
etheric matter, from that in turn to the astral, and 
from that to the mental — these different degrees of 
matter being, as it were, stations on a telegraph-wire. 

One method of magnification is to tap this tele- 
graph-wire at an intermediate station — to receive the 
impression upon the etheric matter of the retina in- 
stead of upon the physical rods and cones, and to 
transfer the impression received directly to the etheric 
part of the brain. By an effort of will the attention 
can be focussed in only a few of the etheric particles, 
or even in one of them, and in that way a similarity 
of size can be attained between the organ employed 
and some minute object which is to be observed. 

A method more commonly used, but requiring 


somewhat higher development, is to employ the special 
faculty of the centre between the eyebrows. From 
the central portion of that can be projected what we 
may call a tiny microscope, having for its lens only 
one atom. In this way again we produce an organ 
commensurate in size with the minute objects to be 
observed. The atom employed may be either physi- 
cal, astral or mental, but whichever it is it needs a 
special preparation. All its spirillse must be opened 
up and brought into full working order, so that it 
is just as it will be in the seventh round of our chain. 
This power belongs to the causal body, so if an 
atom of lower level be used as an eye-piece a system 
of reflecting counterparts must be introduced. The 
atom can be adjusted to any subplane, so that any 
required degree of magnification can be applied in 
order to suit the object which is being examined. A 
further extension of the same power enables the 
operator to focus his own consciousness in that lens 
through which he looks, and then to project it to dis- 
tant points. The same power, by a different ar- 
rangement, can be used for diminishing purposes 
when one wishes to view as a whole something far 
too large to be taken in at once by ordinary vision. 

The Mystic Chord 

Questions have often been asked as to the method 
by which a person at a distance of some thousands of 
miles can be instantly found by a trained clairvoyant. 
Apparently this remains somewhat of a mystery to 
many, so I will endeavour to give an explanation of 


the plan commonly adopted, though it is not easy to 
put it quite plainly. A clear expression of super- 
physical facts cannot be achieved in physical words, 
for the latter are always to some extent misleading 
even when they seem most illuminative. 

Man's various forces and qualities, manifesting in 
his bodies as vibrations, send out for each vehicle 
what may be called a keynote. Take his astral body 
as an example. From the number of different vibra- 
tions which are habitual to that astral body there 
emerges a sort of average tone, which we may call the 
keynote of the man on the astral plane. It is ob- 
viously conceivable that there may be a considerable 
number of ordinary men whose astral keynote is 
practically the same, so that this alone would not 
suffice to distinguish them with certainty. But there 
is a similar average tone for each man's mental body, 
for his causal body, and even for the etheric part of 
his physical body; and there have never yet been 
found two persons whose keynotes were identical at 
all these levels, so as to make exactly the same chord 
when struck simultaneously. 

Thus the chord of each man is unique, and it fur- 
nishes a means by which he can always be distin- 
guished from the rest of the world. Among millions 
of primitive savages there may possibly be cases 
where development is as yet so slight that the chords 
are scarcely clear enough for the differences between 
them to be observed, but with any of the higher 
races there is never the least difficulty, nor is there 
any risk of confusion. 

Whether the man be sleeping or waking, living or 
dead, his chord remains the same, and he can always 
be found by it. How can this be so, it may be asked, 
when he is resting in the heaven-world, and has there- 


fore no astral or etheric body to emit the character- 
istic sounds? So long as the causal body itself re- 
mains, it has always attached to it its permanent 
atoms, one belonging to each of the planes, and there- 
fore, wherever he goes, the man in his causal body 
carries his chord with him, for the single atom is 
quite sufficient to give out the distinctive sound. 

The trained seer, who is able to sense the chord, 
attunes his own vehicles for the moment exactly to 
its notes, and then by an effort of will sends forth its 
sound. Wherever in the three worlds that man who 
is sought may be, this evokes an instantaneous re- 
sponse from him. If he be living in the physical body, 
it is quite possible that in that lower vehicle he may 
be conscious only of a slight shock, and may not in 
the least know what has caused it. But his causal 
body lights up instantly; it leaps up like a great 
flame, and this response is at once visible to the seer, 
so that by that one action the man is found, and a 
magnetic line of communication is established. The 
seer can use that line as a kind of telescope, or if he 
prefers he can send his consciousness flashing along 
it with the speed of light, and see from the other end 
of it, as it were. 

The combination of sounds which will produce a 
man's chord is his true occult name; and it is in this 
sense that it has been said that when a man's true 
name is called he instantly replies, wherever he may 
be. Some vague tradition of this is probably at the 
back of the idea so widely spread among savage na- 
tions, that a man's real name is a part of him, and 
must be carefully concealed, because one who knows 
it has a certain power over him, and can work magic 
upon him. Thus also it is said that the man's true 
name is changed at each initiation, since each such 


ceremony is at once the official recognition and the 
fulfilment of a progress by which he has, as it were, 
raised himself into a higher key, putting an addi- 
tional strain upon the strings of his instrument, and 
evoking from it far grander music, so that thence- 
forward his chord must be sounded differently. This 
name of the man must not be confused with the hid- 
den name of the Augoeides, for that is the chord of 
the three principles of the ego, produced by the vi- 
brations of the atmic, buddhic and mental atoms, and 
the monad behind them. 

In order to avoid such confusion we must keep 
clearly in mind the distinction between two mani- 
festations of the man at different levels. The corres- 
pondence between these two manifestations is so 
close that we may almost consider the lower as the 
repetition of the higher. The ego is triple, consist- 
ing of atma, buddhi, manas, three constituents each 
existing on its own plane — the atma on the nirvanic, 
the buddhi on the buddhic, and the manas on the high- 
est level of the mental. This ego inhabits a causal 
body, a vehicle built of the matter of the lowest of 
the three planes to which he belongs. He then puts 
himself further down into manifestation, and takes 
three lower vehicles, the mental, astral and physical 
bodies. His chord in this lower manifestation is that 
which we have been describing, and consists of his 
own note and those of the three lower vehicles. 

Just as the ego is triple, so is the monad, and this 
also has its three constituents, each existing on its own 
plane; but in this case the three planes are the first, 
second and third of our system, and the nirvanic is the 
lowest of them instead of the highest. But on that nir- 
vanic level it takes to itself a manifestation, and we call 
it the monad in its atmic vehicle, or sometimes the triple 


atma or triple spirit; and this is for it what the causal 
body is for the ego. Just as the ego takes on three 
lower bodies (mental, astral, physical), the first of 
which (the mental) is on the lower part of his own 
plane, and the lowest (the physical) two planes below, 
so the monad takes on three lower manifestations 
(which we commonly call atma, buddhi, manas), the 
first of which is on the lower part of his plane, and 
the lowest two planes below that. It will thus be seen 
that the causal body is to the monad what the physical 
body is to the ego. If we think of the ego as the soul 
of the physical body, we may consider the monad as 
the soul of the ego in turn. Thus the chord of the 
Augoeides (the glorified ego in his causal body) con- 
sists of the note of the monad, with those of its three 
manifestations, atma, buddhi, manas. 

It must be understood that the chord cannot be ac- 
curately considered as sound in the sense in which 
we use that word on this plane. It has been suggested 
to me that an analogy which is in some respects better 
is that of the combination of lines in a spectrum. Each 
of the elements whose spectrum is known to us is in- 
stantly recognisable by it, in whatever star it may ap- 
pear, no matter how great the distance may be — so 
long as the lines are bright enough to be seen at all. 
But the chord of which we have been speaking is not 
actually either heard or seen; it is received by a com- 
plex perception which requires the practically simul- 
taneous activity of the consciousness in the causal body 
and in all the lower vehicles. 

Even with regard to ordinary astral perception it is 
misleading (though practically unavoidable) to speak 
of "hearing" and "seeing." These terms connote for 
us the idea of certain sense-organs which receive im- 
pressions of a well-defined type. To see implies the 


possession of an eye, to hear implies the existence of 
an ear. But no such sense-organs are to be found on 
the astral plane. It is true that the astral body is an 
exact counterpart of the physical, and that it conse- 
quently shows eyes and ears, nose and mouth, hands 
and feet, just as the latter does. But when function- 
ing in the astral body we do not walk upon the astral 
counterparts of our physical feet, nor do we see and 
hear with the counterparts of our physical eyes and 

Each particle in an astral body is capable of re- 
ceiving a certain set of vibrations — those belonging to 
its own level, and those only. If we divide all astral 
vibrations into seven sets, just like seven octaves in 
music, each octave will correspond to a sub-plane, and 
only a particle in the astral body which is built of mat- 
ter belonging to that subplane can respond to the vibra- 
tions of that octave. So "to be upon a certain sub- 
plane in the astral" is to have developed the sensitive- 
ness of only those particles in one's astral body which 
belong to that subplane, so that one can perceive the 
matter and the inhabitants of that sub-plane only. To 
have perfect vision upon the astral plane means to 
have developed sensitiveness in all particles of the 
astral body, so that all the sub-planes are simultane- 
ously visible. 

Even though a man has developed the particles of 
one sub-plane only, if those are fully developed he will 
have on that sub-plane a power of perception equiva- 
lent to all of our physical senses. If he perceives an 
object at all, he will in that one act of perception re- 
ceive from it an impression which conveys all that we 
learn down here through those various channels which 
we call the senses; he will simultaneously see, hear 
and feel it. The instantaneous perception which be- 


longs to higher planes is still further removed from the 
clumsy and partial action of the physical senses. 

In order to see how the chord helps the clairvoyant 
to find any given person, it must also be understood 
that the vibrations which cause it are communicated by 
the man to any object which is for some time in close 
contact with him, and therefore permeated by his mag- 
netism. A lock of his hair, an article of clothing which 
he has worn, a letter which he has written — any of 
these is sufficient to give the chord to one who knows 
how to perceive it. It can also be obtained very readily 
from a photograph, which seems more curious, since 
the photograph need not have been in direct contact 
with the person whom it represents. Even untrained 
clairvoyants, who have no scientific knowledge of the 
subject, instinctively recognize the necessity of bring- 
ing themselves en rapport with those whom they seek 
by means of some such objects. 

It is not necessary for the seer to hold the letter in 
his hand while examining the case, or even to have it 
near him. Having once held the letter and sensed the 
chord, he is able to remember it and reproduce it, just 
as any one with a good memory might remember a face 
after seeing it once. Some such link as this is always 
necessary to find a person previously unknown. We 
had recently a case of a man who had died somewhere 
in the Congo district, but as no photograph of him was 
sent by the friend who wrote about him, it was neces- 
sary first to seek that friend (somewhere in Scandi- 
navia, I think) and make a contact in a roundabout 
way through him. 

There are, however, other methods of finding people 
at a distance. One which is most effective requires 
higher development than that just described. A man 
who is able to raise his consciousness to the atomic 


level of the buddhic plane there finds himself abso- 
lutely in union with all his fellowmen — and therefore 
of course among the rest with the person whom he 
seeks. He draws his consciousness up into this unity 
along his own line, and he has only to put himself 
out again along the line of that other person in order 
to find him. There are always various ways of exer- 
cising clairvoyance, and each student employs that 
which comes most naturally to him. If he has not 
fully studied his subject, he often thinks his own 
method the only one possible, but wider knowledge 
soon disabuses him of that idea. 

How Past Lives are Seen 

As a series of past lives of enthralling interest has 
recently been published in The Theosophist, many en- 
quiries have been received as to the exact method by 
which the record of such lives is read by the investi- 
gators. It is not easy to explain the matter satis- 
factorily to those who have not themselves the power 
to see them, but some attempt at a description of the 
process may at least help students on the way towards 

To begin with, it is by no means easy to explain 
what the record is which is to be read. A suggestion 
leading towards an idea of it may perhaps be obtained 
by imagining a room with a huge pier-glass at one end. 
Everything which took place in that room would be 
reflected in that mirror. If we further suppose that 
mirror to be endowed with the properties of a kind of 


perpetual cinematograph, so that it records all which 
it reflects, and can afterwards under certain circum- 
stances be made to reproduce it, we have advanced one 
stage towards understanding how the record presents 
itself. But we must add to our conception qualities 
which no mirror ever possessed — the power to repro- 
duce all sounds as a phonograph does, and also to 
reflect and reproduce thoughts and feelings. 

Then we must further try to understand what the 
reflection in a mirror really is. If two persons stand 
in relation to a mirror so that each sees in it not him- 
self but the other, it is obvious that the same area of 
glass is reflecting the two images. Therefore if we 
suppose the glass to retain permanently every image 
which has ever been cast upon it (perhaps it actually 
does!) it is again clear that the same part of the glass 
must be simultaneously recording those two images. 
Move up and down and from side to side, and you will 
soon convince yourself that every particle of glass must 
be simultaneously recording every part of every object 
in the room, and that what you happen to see in it de- 
pends upon the position of your eye. Hence it also fol- 
lows that no two people can ever see at the same mo- 
ment exactly the same reflection in a mirror, any more 
than two people can see the same rainbow, because two 
physical eyes cannot simultaneously occupy exactly the 
same point in space. 

What we have supposed to happen with regard to 
the particles of our mirror does really happen with 
regard to every particle of every substance. Every 
stone by the roadside contains an indelible record of 
everything that has ever passed it, but this record 
cannot (so far as we yet know) be recovered from 
it so as to be visible to the ordinary physical senses, 
though the more developed sense of the psychome- 
trist perceives it without difficulty. 


How is it possible, men ask, for an inanimate par- 
ticle to register and reproduce impressions? The an- 
swer is that the particle is not inanimate, and that the 
life which ensouls it is part of the Divine Life. In- 
deed, another way in which one may attempt to de- 
scribe the record is to say that it is the memory of the 
Logos Himself, and that each particle is somehow in 
touch with that part of that memory which includes 
the events which have taken place in its neighbour- 
hood, or what we may call within sight of it. It is 
probable that what we call our memory is nothing but 
a similar power of coming into touch (though often 
very imperfectly) with that part of His memory which 
refers to events which we happen to have seen or 

So we might say that every man carries about with 
him on the physical plane two memories of anything 
which he has seen — his brain-memory, which is often 
imperfect or inaccurate, and the memory enshrined in 
any unchanged particles of his body or of the clothes 
that he wears, which is always perfect and accurate, 
but is available only for those who have learnt how to 
read it. Remember also that the brain-memory may 
be inaccurate, not only because it is itself imperfect, 
but because the original observation may have been 
defective. Also that it may have been coloured by 
prejudice: we see, to a large extent, what we wish to 
see, and we can remember an event only as it appeared 
to us, though we may have seen it partially or wrongly. 
But from all these defects the record is entirely free. 

It is obvious that a man's physical body can have 
neither a memory nor a record of a past incarnation 
in which it did not participate; and the same is true 
of his astral and mental bodies, since all these vehicles 
are new for each new incarnation. This at once shows 



us that the lowest level at which we can hope to get 
really reliable information about past lives is that of 
the causal body, for nothing below that can give us 
first-hand evidence. In those previous lives the ego in 
his causal body was present — at least a certain small 
part of him was — and so he is an actual witness; 
whereas all lower vehicles were not witnesses, and can 
only report what they have received from him. When 
we recollect how imperfect is the communication be- 
tween the ego and the personality in the ordinary man, 
we shall at once see ho'w entirely unreliable such 
second, third, or fourth-hand testimony is likely to be. 
One may sometimes obtain from the astral or mental 
bodies isolated pictures of events in a man's past life, 
but not a sequential and coherent account of it; and 
even those pictures are but reflections from the causal 
body, and probably very dim and blurred reflections. 

Therefore to read past lives with accuracy the first 
thing necessary is to develope the faculties of the 
causal body. Turning those faculties upon the causal 
body of the man to be examined, we have before us the 
same two possibilities as in the case of the physical 
man. We can take the ego's own memory of what 
happened, or we can as it were psychometrise him and 
see for ourselves the experiences through which he has 
passed. The latter method is the safer, for even the 
ego, since he has seen these things through a past per- 
sonality, may have imperfect or prejudiced impres- 
sions of them. 

This then is the mechanism of the ordinary method 
of investigating past lives — to use the faculties of one's 
own causal body, and by its means to psychometrise 
the causal body of the subject. The thing could be dene 
at lower levels by psychometrisation of the permanent 


atoms, but as this would be a much more difficult feat 
than the unfolding of the senses of the causal body it 
is not at all likely ever to be attempted successfully. 
Another method (which, however, requires much 
higher development) is to use the buddhic faculties — 
to become absolutely one with the ego under investi- 
gation, and read his experiences as though they were 
one's own — from within instead of from without. 
Eoth of these methods have been employed by those 
who prepared the series of lives which appear in The 
Theosophist, and the investigators have also had the 
advantage of the intelligent co-operation of the ego 
whose incarnations are described. 

The physical presence of the subject whose lives are 
being read is an advantage, but not a necessity; he is 
useful if he can keep his vehicles perfectly calm, but 
if he becomes excited he spoils everything. 

The surroundings are not specially important, but 
quiet is essential, as the physical brain must be calm 
if impressions are to be brought through clearly. 
Everything which comes down to the physical level 
from the causal body must pass through the mental 
and the astral vehicles, and if either of these is dis- 
turbed it reflects imperfectly, just as the least rip- 
pling of the surface of a lake will break up or dis- 
tort the images of the trees or houses upon its banks. 
It is necessary also to eradicate absolutely all preju- 
dices, otherwise they will produce the effect of stained 
glass; they will colour everything which is seen 
through them, and so give a false impression. 

In looking at past lives it has always been our 
custom to retain full physical consciousness, so as to 
be able to make a note of everything while it is being 
observed. This is found to be a much safer method 
than to leave the physical body during the observa- 


tions, and then trust to memory for their reproduc- 
tion. There is however a stage at which this latter 
plan is the only one available, when the student, 
though able to use the causal body, can do so only 
while the physical vehicle is asleep. 

The identification of the various characters en- 
countered in these glimpses of the past sometimes pre- 
sents a little difficulty, for naturally egos change 
considerably in the course of twenty thousand years 
or so. Fortunately, with a little practice it is possi- 
ble to pass the record in review as rapidly or as 
slowly as may be desired ; so when there is any doubt 
as to an identification we always adopt the plan of 
running quickly along the line of lives of the ego 
under observation, until we trace him to the present 
day. Some investigators, when they see an ejo in 
some remote life, at once feel an intuition as to his 
present personality; but though such a flash of in- 
tuition may often be right, it may certainly also 
sometimes be wrong, and the more laborious method 
is the only one which is thoroughly reliable. 

There are cases in which even after many thou- 
sands of years the egos of ordinary people are in- 
stantly recognisable; but that does not speak par- 
ticularly well for them, because it means that during 
all that time they have made but little progress. To 
try to recognise twenty thousand years ago some one 
whom one knows at the present day is rather like 
meeting as an adult some one whom one knew long 
ago as a little child. In some cases recognition is 
possible; in other cases the change has been too 
great. Those who have since become Masters of the 
Wisdom are often instantly recognisable, even thou- 
sands of years ago, but that is for a very different 
reason. When the lower vehicles are already fully 


in harmony with the ego, they form themselves in 
the likeness of the Augoeides, and so change very 
little from life to life. In the same way when the 
ego himself is becoming a perfect reflection of the 
monad, he also changes but little, but gradually 
grows; and so he is readily recognisable. 

In examining a past life the easiest way of all 
would be to let the record drift past us at its natural 
rate, but that would mean a day's work to look up 
the events of each day, and a lifetime spent upon 
each incarnation. As has been said, it is possible to 
accelerate or retard the passage of events, so that a 
period of thousands of years may be run through 
rapidly, or on the other hand any particular picture 
may be held as long as is desired, so that it may be 
examined in detail. The acceleration or retardation 
may perhaps be compared to the hastening or slack- 
ening of the movement of a panorama; a little prac- 
tice gives the power to do this at will, but as in the 
case of the panorama, the whole record is really 
there all the time. 

What I have described as the unrolling of the 
record rapidly or slowly at will is in reality a move- 
ment not of the record, but of the consciousness of 
the seer. But the impression which it gives is 
exactly as I have stated it. The records may be said 
to lie upon one another in layers, the more recent on 
the top and the older ones behind. Yet even this 
simile is misleading, because it inevitably suggests 
the idea of thickness, whereas these records occupy 
no more space than does the reflection on the surface 
of a mirror. When the consciousness passes through 
them, it does not really move in space at all ; it rather 
puts on itself, as a kind of cloak, one or other of the 
layers of the record, and in doing so it finds itself in 
the midst of the action of the story. 


One of the most tiresome tasks connected with 
this branch of enquiry is the determination of exact 
dates. In fact, some investigators frankly decline to 
undertake it, saying that it is not worth the trouble, 
and that a round number is sufficient for all practi- 
cal purposes. Probably it is; yet there is a feeling 
of satisfaction in getting even details as accurate as 
possible, even at the cost of tedious counting up to 
very high numbers. Our plan is of course to estab- 
lish certain fixed points and then use those as a basis 
for further calculation. 

One such fixed point is the date 9,564 B.C., when the 
sinking of Poseidonis took place. Another is the 
date 75,025 B.C., for the commencement of the great 
previous catastrophe. In the course of the investi- 
gation of the lives of Alcyone we have thus estab- 
lished a number of points, up to the date of 22,6^2 
B.C., and as those lives were worked backwards, and 
the intervals were therefore counted one by one and 
not all at once, the scheme was not too insufferably 
tedious, as it certainly would be with very large num- 
bers. In certain cases astronomical means are also 
employed. A description of these different methods 
will be found in my book on Clairvoyance. 

It is on the whole somewhat easier to read lives 
forwards than backwards, because in that case we are 
working with the natural flow of time instead of 
against it. So the usual plan is to run rapidly to 
some selected point in the past, and then work slowly 
forwards from that. It must be remembered that at 
first sight it is rarely possible to estimate accurately 
the relative importance of the minor events of a life, 
so we often skim over it first, to see from what actions 
or occurrences the really important changes flow, and 
<;hen go back and describe those more in detail. If 


the investigator himself happens to be one of the 
characters in the life which he is examining, there 
opens before him the interesting alternative of actu- 
ally putting himself back into that old personality, 
and feeling over again just what he felt in that 
ancient time. Eut in that case he sees everything 
exactly as he saw it then, and knows no more than 
he knew then. 

Few of those who read the life-stories, which are 
often somewhat meagre outlines, will have any con- 
ception of the amount of labour which has been be- 
stowed upon them — of the hours of work which have 
sometimes been given to the full comprehension of 
some trifling detail, so that the picture finally pre- 
sented may be as nearly a true one as is possible. 
At least our readers may be sure that no pains have 
been spared to ensure accuracy, though this is often 
no easy task when we are dealing with conditions 
and modes of thought as entirely different from our 
own as though they belonged to another planet. 

The languages employed are almost always unin- 
telligible to the investigator, but as the thoughts 
behind the words lie open before him that matters 
little. On several occasions those who were doing 
the work have copied down public inscriptions which 
they could not understand, and have afterwards had 
them translated on the physical plane by someone to 
whom the ancient language was familiar. 

A vast amount of work is represented by the sets 
of lives which are now appearing; may that labour 
bring its fruit in a more vivid realisation of the 
mighty civilisations of the past and a clearer com- 
prehension of the working of the laws of karma and 
reincarnation. Since the first set of lives which ap- 
peared have culminated in the initiation of the hero 


in his present incarnation, they are surely a valuable 
study for those whose aspiration is to become the 
pupils of a Master of the Wisdom, for their own 
progress should be the more rapid when they have 
learnt how a brother has attained the goal towards 
which they are striving. This progress has been 
made the more easy for them because that brother 
has taken the trouble to record for us in that most 
admirable little book At the Feet of the Master the 
teachings which led him to that goal. 

About a hundred and fifty of those who are at 
present members of the Theosophical Society are the 
prominent characters in the drama which lies before 
the readers of The Theosophist; and it is deeply in- 
teresting to note how those who in the past have often 
been linked by the ties of blood-relationship, though 
born this time in countries thousands of miles apart, 
are yet brought together by their common interest in 
Theosophical study, and bound to one another more 
closely by their love for the Masters than they could 
ever have been by any mere earthly connection. 

There are two sources of possible error in examin- 
ing the records clairvoyantly ; first, personal bias, and 
secondly, limited views. There are fundamental 
differences of temperament, and these cannot but 
colour the views taken of other planes. The adept 
has a perfect perception of life, but below that level 
we are sure to have some prejudices. The man of 
the world magnifies unimportant details and omits all 
the important things, because he is in the habit of 
doing that in daily life; but on the other hand a man 
starting on the Path may, in his enthusiasm, lose for 
a time his touch with the ordinary human life from 
which he has emerged. Even then he has made a 
great advance, for those who see the inside of things 



are nearer to the truth than those who see only the 

The statements of clairvoyants may and must be 
coloured by opinions already formed, as was clearly 
the case with Swedenborg, who used a very narrow 
Christian terminology to describe the facts of the 
astral plane, and unquestionably saw many things 
through strong thought-forms which he had made in 
previous years. He started with certain definite pre- 
conceptions, and he made everything which he saw 
fit into those preconceptions. You know how it is 
possible down here on the physical plane to start with 
some preconception about a man and distort his most 
innocent words and actions to fit that preconception 
— to read into them ideas of which the unfortunate 
man never even dreamt. The same thing is possible 
on the astral plane if one is careless. 

Theosophical investigators are thoroughly on their 
guard against this danger of personal bias, and use 
constant checks of all kinds to avoid it. To minimise 
the chance of error from this source the Masters 
usually select people of radically different types to 
work together. 

Secondly, there is the danger of a limited view — of 
taking a part for the whole. For example, there has 
been much said of the corruption and black magic of 
later days in Poseidonis, but there existed there, at 
that very time, a secret society that was quite pure 
and had high aims. If it had happened that we had 
seen only this society, we might easily have thought 
of Poseidonis as a most spiritual country. It is possi- 
ble, you see, that such limited views may be taken as 
applying to a whole region or community. Generali- 
sations must be checked and verified. There is, how- 
ever, a general aura of a time or a country, which 


usually prevents any great mistakes of this sort. A 
psychic who has not been trained to sense this gen- 
eral aura is often unconscious of it, and thus the un- 
trained man falls into many errors. In fact, long- 
continued observation shows that all untrained 
psychics are sometimes reliable and sometimes unre- 
liable, and those who consult them always run a risk 
of being misled. 

The records must not be thought of as originally 
inhering in matter of any kind, though they are re- 
nected in it. In order to read them it is not neces- 
sary to come into direct contact with any particular 
grouping of matter, since they can be read from any 
distance, when a connection has once been made. 

Nevertheless it is also true that each atom retains 
the record, or perhaps only possesses the power to put 
a clairvoyant en rapport with the record, of all that 
has ever happened within sight of it. It is by means 
of this quality that psychometry is possible. But 
there is this very curious limitation attached to it, 
that the normal psychometer sees by means of it only 
what he would have seen if he had been standing at 
the spot from which the object psychometrised has 
been taken. For example, if a man psychometrises a 
pebble which has been lying for ages in a valley, he 
will see only what has passed during those ages in 
that valley ; his views will be limited by the surround- 
ing hills, just as if he had stood for all those ages 
where the stone lay, and had witnessed all those 

True, there is an extension of the psychometric 
power, by which a man may see the thoughts and 
feelings of the actors in his drama as well as their 
physical bodies, and there is also another extension 
by which, having first established himself in that 


valley, he may make it the basis of further opera- 
tions, and so pass over the surrounding hills and see 
what lies beyond them, and also what has happened 
there since the stone was removed, and even what 
occurred before it in some manner arrived there. But 
the man who can do that will soon be able to dispense 
with the stone altogether. When we use the senses 
of the causal body on the counterparts of physical 
things, we see that every object is thus throwing off 
pictures of the past. 

As we develop our inner consciousness and facul- 
ties, our life becomes a continuous one; we reach the 
consciousness of the ego, and then we can travel 
back even as far as the group-soul in which we lived 
the animal stage of our life, and look through animal 
eyes at the human beings of that period and the differ- 
ent world that flourished then. But there are no 
words to tell what is seen in that way, for the differ- 
ence of outlook is beyond all expression. 

Short of that continuous consciousness, however, 
there is no detailed memory — not even ol the most 
important facts. For example, a person who knows 
the truth of reincarnation in one life does not neces- 
sarily carry his certainty over to the next. I forgot 
it myself, and so did Mrs. Besant. I did not know 
anything of it in this life, until I heard of it from 
outside, and then I instantly recognised its truth. 
Whatever we have known in the past will spring up 
in the mind in this way as a certainty when it is next 
presented before us. 

As a child I used constantly to dream of a cer- 
tain house, which I afterwards learned was a house 
in which I had lived in a previous life. It was quite 
unlike any with which I was at that time familiar on 
the physical plane, for it was built round a central 


courtyard (with a fountain and statues and shr 
into which all the rooms looked. I used to dream of 
it perhaps three times a week, and I knew every 
room of it and all the people who lived in it, and i 
constantly to describe it to my mother, and make 
ground-plans of it. We called it my dream-house. As 
I grew older I dreamt of it less and less frequently, 
until at last it faded from my memory altogether. 
But one day to illustrate some point my Master 
showed me a picture of the house in which I had lived 
in my last incarnation, and I recognised it immedi- 

Any one may intellectually appreciate the necessity 
of reincarnation; but actually to prove it one must 
become, in the causal body, cognisant of the past and 
future. The only way of casting off the fetter of 
doubt is by knowledge and intelligent comprehension. 
Blind belief is a barrier to progress, but this does not 
mean that we are wrong in accepting intelligently the 
statements of those who know more than ourselves. 
There are no authoritative dogmas which must be ac- 
cepted in the Theosophical Society. There are only 
statements of the results of investigation, which are 
offered in the belief that they will be as helpful to 
other minds as they have been to the investigators. 

Foreseeing the Future 

It is very difficult to explain how the future is 
foreseen, but there is no doubt whatever as to the 
fact. Apart from apparently accidental pictures and 
flashes of intuition, often effective but not under con- 


trol, there are two ways in which the future may 
definitely be foreseen by means of the higher clair- 
voyance. One is quite readily explicable and com- 
prehensible; the other is not explicable, at all. 

Even with only physical senses we may see enough 
to foretell certain things. If, for instance, we see a 
man leading an extravagant life of debauchery, we 
may safely predict that, unless he changes, he will 
presently lose both health and fortune. What we 
cannot tell by physical means is whether he will 
change or not. Eut a man who has the sight of the 
causal body could often tell this, because to him the 
reserve forces of the other would be visible; he could 
see what the ego thought of it all, and whether he was 
strong enough to interfere. No merely physical pre- 
diction is certain, because so many of the causes 
which influence life cannot be seen on this lower 
plane. But when we raise our consciousness to higher 
planes we can see more of the causes, and so can come 
much nearer to calculating the effects. 

Obviously if all the causes could be perfectly seen 
and judged, all their results would be readily calcula- 
ble. Perhaps none but the Logos can see all causes in 
His system, but an adept would surely be able to see 
all that could affect an ordinary man! so it is proba- 
ble that by this method an adept could foretell the 
life of that man quite accurately. For the ordinary 
man has little will-power; karma assigns to him ser- 
tain surroundings, and he is the creature of those 
surroundings; he accepts the fate marked out for 
him, because he does not know that he can alter it. 
A more developed man takes hold of his destiny and 
moulds it; he makes his future what he wills it to be, 
counteracting the karma of the past by setting fresh 
forces in motion. So his future is not so easily pre- 


dicable; but no doubt even in this case an adept, who 
could see the latent will, could also calculate how he 
would use it. 

That method of foretelling the future is entirely 
comprehensible, and it is clear that the chief events 
of any life could be prophesied along that line. But 
there is another way for which we cannot so easily 
account. One has only to raise the consciousness to 
a plane sufficiently high, to find the limitation which 
we call time disappearing, and the past, present and 
future spread out before us like an open book. How 
that can be reconciled with our freedom of action I 
am not prepared to say, but I can testify that the 
fact is so; when this sight is employed the future is 
simply there, down to the minutest detail. I believe 
myself that we are free to choose, though only within 
certain limits; yet a power, far higher than we, may 
well know how we shall choose. You know what your 
dog will do under certain conditions, but that does 
not in the least make him do it; so a power as much 
higher than man, as man is than the dog, may know 
quite well how man will use his fragment of free-will. 

For it is only a fragment; the plan of the LOGOS is 
to trust us with a little freedom, and see how we use 
it. If we use it well and wisely, a little more is given 
to us; and so long as we continue to use it in har- 
mony with His great intention of evolution, we shall 
find more and more freedom of choice coming to us. 
But if we are so foolish as to use it selfishly, so as to 
bring harm to ourselves and hinder His plan, we shall 
find ourselves cramped in our action and forced back 
into line. A child must have freedom to walk, even 
though that involves a risk of falling, or else he will 
never learn; but no one would let him make his ex- 
periment on the edge of a precipice. So we have 


freedom enough to do ourselves a little harm if we 
use it wrongly, but not freedom enough to destroy 
ourselves altogether. 

Times of choice certainly come to us, but between 
those times we have often little option. When we 
have made our choice we must abide by its conse- 
quences. Looked at from above, human destiny 
seems rather like a network of railway lines. A man 
starts out on a locomotive, and chooses his line of 
rail; but when he has chosen it he must run along it, 
and cannot swerve to the right hand or the left until 
he reaches the first set of points. Then he may de- 
scend and set the points as he will, but having once 
set them and started on his way he must accept the 
consequences of his decision ; he has no power to turn 
aside until the next point of choice comes in his way. 
We must not confuse free-will with freedom of action. 

Now to possess fully the power of forecasting the 
future by either of the methods described means 
considerable development; but isolated pictures re- 
flected from both of them may often be had at very 
much lower levels. What is called in Scotland second- 
sight appears to be an example; by that, a future 
event is often seen with quite a wealth of detail. 

I remember reading of a case where a seer told a 
sceptic that a certain man known to them both would 
die at a given time, and furthermore gave a detailed 
description of his funeral, mentioning the pall-bear- 
ers by name. The sceptic ridiculed the whole pre- 
diction, but when the appointed time came the man 
indicated did die as had been prophesied. The scep- 
tic was astonished, but still more annoyed, and he 
determined that the rest of the story should not come 
true, for he himself would interfere to falsify it. He 
therefore got himself appointed as one of the pall- 


bearers! but when the day came and the party was 
just about to start, he was called aside for a moment, 
and when he returned he found that the pr< 
had already moved away, and that the pall-bearers 
were those who had been seen in the vision. 

I have myself had similar pictures of scenes in the 
future — scenes of no interest to myself, and of no 
use so far as I could see; but they have always hap- 
pened exactly as I had seen them, in every case where 
1 have had the opportunity of verifying them. 

The Logos has thought out the whole life of His 
system, not only as it is now, but as it has been at 
every moment in the past, and as it will be at i 
moment in the future. And His thought calls into 
existence that of which He thinks. These thought- 
forms are said to be on the cosmic mental plane — 
two whole sets of seven planes above our set of seven. 
He thinks out what He intends each of the planetary 
chains to do; He comes down to smaller details, for 
He thinks of the type of man for every root-race and 
sub-race, from the beginning of all, through the ]>- 
murian, the Atlantean, the Aryan and the succeeding 
races. Thus we may say that on that cosmic mental 
plane the whole of the system was called into exist- 
ence simultaneously by that thought — an act of 
special creation; and it must all be now simultane- 
ously present to Him. So that it may well be that 
His mighty consciousness to some extent reflects it- 
self even on very much lower levels, and somehow we 
sometimes catch faint glimpses of those reflections. 

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£b&as mtfr ^ature spirits 


The Aura of the Deva 

HE devas are a mighty kingdom of spirits, 
the next above humanity, just in the same 
way as the animal kingdom is the next one 
below it. You may think of them as great 
and glorious angels, but of course they 
are of many different kinds, and different degrees 
of evolution. None of them are so low down as to 
have physical bodies such as we have. The lowest 
kind are called kamadevas, and they have astral 
bodies, while the next higher variety have bodies 
made of lower mental matter, and so on. They will 
never be human, because most of them are already 
beyond that stage, but there are some of them who 
have been human beings in the past. When men come 
to the end of their evolution as men, and become some- 
thing greater than human, several paths open before 
them, and one of these is to join this beautiful deva 

Devas and men differ in appearance. For one 
thing devas are more fluidic — capable of far greater 
expansion and contraction. Secondly, they have a 
certain fiery quality which is clearly distinguishable 
from that of any ordinary human being. The only 
kind of human being with whom it might be possible 


to confound them would be the highly-developed — ■ 
an arhat, for example, who had a large and well-ar- 
ranged aura; but even then one who had seen both 
would not be likely to mistake them. The aura of the 
ordinary man is capable of a certain amount of tem- 
porary expansion. It has a definite size, which is the 
same as that of a section of the causal body, and as 
the causal body grows, that section becomes larger, 
and the man has a larger aura; but such increase 
comes only gradually. 

If you remember the plates in Man Visible and In- 
visible, you will recollect that the ordinary man, as 
far as the causal body is concerned, is far from being 
fully developed. When you look at the causal body 
of the developed man, you will see that it is full of 
colour, so the first stages of improvement in the case 
of the ordinary man consists in its filling up, not its 
enlargement. He must get the ovoid filled with 
different colours, and then expansion begins. 

If any sudden rush of feeling comes over the ordi- 
nary man, it shows itself, as depicted in the book, by 
the flashing in the aura, and out from it, of the colour 
of the quality expressed — rose for affection, blue for 
devotion or green for sympathy; and also in the pul- 
sating bands of that colour, and in the general inten- 
sification of everything connected with that emotion. 
It does not do more than that for the ordinary man; 
an exceedingly vivid rush of affection, for example, 
fills the aura with rose and sends out thought-forms 
of that colour in the direction of its object; but it does 
not usually appreciably increase, even temporarily, 
the size of the aura. 

The developed man, however, has already filled the 
causal body with colour, so in his case the effect pro- 
duced by such a rush of affection or devotion or sym- 


pathy is not only to suffuse the body with colour and 
cause a great outrush of thought-forms, but also to 
produce a considerable temporary expansion, though 
the aura afterwards contracts to its normal size. 
Each such outrush of feeling makes the aura perma- 
nently just a little larger than before. The more it 
increases, the more power the man has to feel. In- 
tellectual development also increases the aura, but in 
that case yellow is the predominant colour. 

Remember that utterly unselfish affection or devo- 
tion belongs not to the astral but to the buddhic plane, 
and that is why when a wave of such feeling rushes 
over a man it causes great temporary expansion of 
his aura; yet it never increases to the same tremen- 
dous extent as with a deva. The fluctuations in the 
aura of a deva are so great as to be startling to those 
who are not used to them. One who recently did us 
the honour to pay us a visit at Adyar, to give us in- 
formation about the foundation of the sixth root- 
race, had normally an aura of about one hundred and 
fifty yards in diameter; but when he became inter- 
ested in the teaching which he was giving to us, that 
aura increased until it reached the sea, which is about 
a mile away from us. 

No human being could feel sufficient emotion to 
produce such an increase as this. Even in the case 
of a Master the proportionate temporary enlarge- 
ment would never be so great. I do not mean any- 
thing derogatory to the deva, when I say that the 
Master is steadier, and that the permanent growth of 
His aura would be as great as that of the deva, but 
the temporary expansion less in proportion. The 
texture of the deva's aura is, as it were, looser. The 
same extent of aura in a human being contains more 
matter, because it is more condensed or concentrated. 


The deva in question was no further advanced than 
an arhat, whose aura might probably extend a third 
of the distance. But it might easily happen that a 
clairvoyant who had not seen either before might 
realise only that he was surrounded by a cloud of 
glory in either case, and he probably would not know 
the difference. 

Expansion and growth take place in the astral and 
mental bodies as well as in the causal. These three 
bodies are all of the same extent, although you must 
remember one is dealing with only sections, and even 
sections of sections. There used to be a theory 
afloat that the causal body of the ordinary man was 
about the size of a pea, and that it gradually in- 
creased; but that is not correct. The undeveloped 
causal body is the same size as any other, until the 
expansion begins. 

As I have said, the aura of a deva has fiery charac- 
teristics which are not easy to describe, though very 
readily recognisable. All of the colours are more 
fluidic, and of the nature of flame rather than of 
cloud. A man looks like an exceedingly brilliant, yet 
delicate cloud of glowing gas, but a deva looks like 
a mass of fire. 

The human form inside the aura of a deva is very 
much less defined than in a man. He lives more in 
the circumference, more all over his aura than a man 
does. Ninety-nine per cent of the matter of a man's 
aura is within the periphery of the physical body, 
but the proportion is far less in the case of a deva. 
Devas usually appear as human beings of gigantic 
size. Somebody has suggested that there are devas 
who look as though they were feathered. There is 
some justification for this idea; I know exactly the ap- 
pearance that that man was trying to describe, but 


it is not easy to put it into words. The great green 
devas whom I saw in Ireland have a very striking ap- 
pearance, being enormous in size and most majestic- 
One cannot describe them accurately; in words it is 
only possible to approximate. The painters usually 
represent angels with wings and feathers, but I think 
where these are mentioned in the Christian scrip- 
tures they are always symbolical, for when real angels 
appear they are sometimes mistaken for human be- 
ings (as by Abraham, for example) ; so obviously 
they could not have had wings. 

In many cases a deva may be distinguished by the 
form which he happens to be taking inside his ovoid. 
It is nearly always a human form. You remember 
that nature-spirits take human form almost invari- 
bly, but with a peculiarity of some sort — always a 
little odd. I should be disposed to say the same of 
the devas; but it would be wrong to think of their 
forms as in any way distorted, for they have a great 
dignity and majesty. 

The devas produce thoughixforms as we do, but 
theirs are not usually so concrete as ours until they 
reach a high level. They have a wide generalising 
nature, and are constantly making gorgeous plans. 
They have a colour-language, which is probably not 
as definite as our speech, though in certain ways it 
may express more. 

As regards the size of the aura, that of an ordi- 
nary man extends about eighteen inches on each side 
of the body. If he puts his elbow against his side 
and stretches out his arm and hand, his finger-tips 
will be near the circumference. The average Theoso- 
phist may be a trifle larger than the quite uninter- 
ested person; but there are fine, large auras outside 
the Society as well. Intense feeling means a larger 


We may have a distortion of the aura — it may be 
a little out of shape. As I have explained before, 
most people have the small end of the egg upwards, 
but we who are students tend to grow larger at the 
top, because the characteristics which we are develop- 
ing express themselves in matter which naturally 
floats in the upper part of the aura because of its 
specific gravity. The increased size of the aura is a 
prerequisite for initiation, and the qualifications 
should be visible in it. The aura of a Buddha is said 
in the books to be three miles in radius; at one stage 
below His, I have myself seen one which extends 
about two miles. It naturally increases with each 

The devas do not come along our line of develop- 
ment, and do not take such initiations as we do, for 
the two kingdoms converge at a point higher than the 
adept. There are ways in which a man can enter 
the deva evolution, even at our own stage, or lower. 

You ask if the devas are often near at hand and 
willing to teach men. They are usually quite willing 
to expound and exemplify subjects along their own 
line to any human being who is sufficiently developed 
to appreciate them. Much instruction is being given 
in this way; but most people have not prepared them- 
selves for it yet, and so are unable to profit by it. 
We know nothing of any rule or limit for the work 
of the devas; they have more lines of activity than 
we can imagine. 

There are usually plenty of them here at Adyar. 
We have many great advantages here, where the Mas- 
ters come so frequently. In order to see them, all that 
is required is a little clairvoyance at the right mo- 
ment. There is a stimulus from these Beings, which 
some feel in one way and some in others. Perhaps 


in the earlier incarnation of the Lord Gautama as the 
first Zoroaster, the fire which is one of the signs of 
His development may have been one of the reasons 
why He was mistaken for a deva. It is said that 
during meditation flames leapt from the aura of the 
Lord Buddha; but we must remember that an ordi- 
nary thought-form would often appear flame-like to 
a person who was not used to such things. The shin- 
ing of the Christ at the transfiguration is a similar 

There are plenty of glorious influences all around 
us here, but their effect upon each one of us can be 
only in proportion to his receptivity. We can take 
from all this just what we make ourselves fit to take, 
and no more. A person who is thinking of himself 
all the while may bathe in this glowing magnetism 
for a year, and not be one iota the better for it. He 
may even be the worse; for these tremendously 
strong vibrations tend to intensify a man's qualities, 
and sometimes the undesirable are strengthened as 
well as the desirable; or he may be altogether upset, 
and become unbalanced and hysterical. To a man who 
is wise enough to take it, a stay at Adyar is an oppor- 
tunity such as few men have ever had during history; 
but what we make of it depends entirely upon our- 

The Spirit of a Tree 

The spirit of a great tree, such as a banyan, not in- 
frequently externalises itself, and when it does so it 
usually takes on a gigantic human form. I have 


noticed one near here, for example, whose form is 
about twelve feet high, and looked like a woman the 
last time I saw it. Its features were quite clear, but 
its form was misty. There are also nature-spirits 
which cling round a tree, and do not at all like to be 
disturbed. I have heard it said that nature-spirits 
do not cling round the trees which man fells for tim- 
ber ; but such observations as I have been able to make 
do not bear out this contention, and it seems to me 
that it must have been invented by men who wished 
to destroy the tree without feeling any unpleasant 
twinges of conscience. 

Although it takes so fine a form, the spirit of a 
tree is not individualised, nor even within measurable 
distance of individualisation. Nevertheless, it is al- 
ready much higher than the lower forms of animal 
life, and when it passes into the animal kingdom it 
will come straight into some of the mammalian 
groups. It has its likes and dislikes, and these show 
in its aura, though the colour and definition are natur- 
ally altogether vaguer and dimmer than in the case 
of an animal. Indeed, in animals who glow with 
affection its colour is often remarkably strong; 
stronger in the case of some animals than that which 
is shown by some human beings, because it is so much 
more concentrated and one-pointed. 

The strong attraction which some people feel for 
particular kinds of trees or animals depends often 
upon the line of animal and vegetable evolution 
through which those people have risen. 

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%> Porlit ano % Jtaces of <fc 


The Building of the System 

UR solar system has seven planes which, 
when taken together, form the lowest of 
the great cosmic planes. There was a time 
when this cosmic plane consisted only of 
what was to it atomic matter, that is to 
say, of the bubbles in koilon. That was the condition 
existing on what we may call the site of the solar 
system. When the Solar Logos chose to manifest 
Himself, when He came forth out of eternity into 
time, and wished to form this system, He commenced 
first of all by defining an area, the limit perhaps of 
His own aura. 

Within that area He began His work upon the 
bubbles in koilon (which seem to have been already 
constructed, probably by some still greater Logos) 
using them as the atoms of our highest plane, and 
creating the universe in seven breaths. For example, 
He did not make the physical-plane matter directly 
from the astral-plane matter, but withdrew into Him- 
self some of the matter of the astral plane and then 
breathed it out again in a new combination. Thus 
there is what is sometimes called a fresh tanmatra 
as well as a fresh tattwa for each plane. 


The shortest and clearest definition of these words 
which I have ever heard was given by the late T. 
Subba Rao. He said: 

"The tanmatra is the modification in the con- 
sciousness of the Logos, and the tattwa is the effect 
produced in matter by that modification. You have 
seen how on a sandy shore a little wave comes quietly 
in, runs up on the sand and retires. But it has left 
behind it a tiny ridge to mark its limit. If the tide 
is rising, the next wave which comes in goes a little 
further up the beach, makes its mark in turn and 
then retires. You may think of the tanmatra as 
imaged by that wave, which is the temporary modi- 
fication of the ocean, and you may think of the little 
ridge made in the sand as symbolising the tattwa." 

The meaning of the word tattwa appears to be 
"thatness," or "inherent quality." 

Though the atoms of the various planes as we de- 
scend are thus not made directly from one another, 
it is nevertheless true that the atoms of the lower planes 
could not be made as they are unless the bubbles of 
which they are composed had already had the ex- 
perience of passing through all the others above. The 
atom of the second plane already consists of forty- 
nine of these bubbles, and the atom of the third or 
nirvanic plane of two thousand four hundred and 
one. This proportion persists all the way down, so 
that the same energy which makes forty-nine astral 
atoms makes only one physical atom, the bubbles 
being arranged differently. 

If we could take a physical atom and put it back 
plane by plane up to the highest, it would be found 
to consist of about fourteen thousand million of these 
bubbles. But when the Logos is making the planes, 
the matter of one plane is drawn up and disintegrated 


down to the original bubbles, and then recombined 
to make the matter of the next lower plane. It is 
probable that the force by which some greater Logos 
formed the bubbles in koilon is what Madame Bla- 
vatsky calls fohat, for you remember that that is 
spoken of as digging holes in space, and the holes 
may be these infinitesimal bubbles, instead of solar 
systems, as we at first supposed. 

I do not know whether each bubble is rotating 
round its own axis or not. Remember, it is not like 
a soap-bubble, which is a film of water with an outer 
and inner surface, enclosing air inside it; it is like 
a bubble in soda-water, which has only one surface, 
where the air meets the water. To the highest sight 
that we can as yet bring to bear upon it, it appears 
to be absolutely empty, so we cannot tell whether there 
is any interior motion going on in it or not. It seems 
to have no proper motion of its own, but it can be 
moved as a whole from without, singly or en masse, 
by an exertion of the will. No two of these bubbles 
ever under any circumstances touch each other. 

The drawing of the physical atom which is given 
in the frontispiece to The Ancient Wisdom is not 
quite accurate; it is far too flat — too much like a 
locket in appearance. The drawing given in Occult 
Chemistry is far better. The atom in reality is nearly 
globular, and its projecting points lie almost on the 
surface of a sphere. It looks somewhat like a wire 
cage, composed of ten endless wires, which lie com- 
pletely separate and never touch one another — that 
is, if any one of them were taken out and uncoiled, 
and laid out flat, it would be a circle. The arrange- 
ment is rather complicated, and a diagram is neces- 
sary in order to make it clear. A model would be 
still better, but no one has yet had the time or the 
patience to make one. 


By reference to the illustration in Occult Chemistry 
it will be seen that three of these ten wires are thicker 
than the rest, for in them the seven sets of spirillae 
do not fit accurately over one another (as they do in 
the other wires), because in every seven hundred 
turns there are four more atoms. This means an in- 
crease of one in every one hundred and seventy-five 
bubbles, and it is this which makes those three seem 
larger than the rest. A scientific man, in criticising 
the Koilon article, said that in dealing with such 
minute particles it was impossible to be so accurate, 
but that is only because he did not understand that it 
is a mere question of counting and comparison. 

The atom has three movements of its own: (1) 
rotation on its axis; (2) an orbital motion, for it is 
continually running round in a small circle; (3) a 
pulsation like a heart, a constant expansion and con- 
traction. These three movements are always going 
on, and are unaffected by any force from outside. A 
force from outside — a ray of light for example — will 
set the atom as a whole moving violently up and down, 
the phase of this movement being proportional to the 
intensity of the light, and its wave-length being de- 
termined by the colour of the light. A curious feature 
is that when this happens one of the seven minor 
wires of the atom begins to glow — the wire which 
corresponds to the colour of the light which is set- 
ting the whole atom in motion. 

The atom exists because of the force which the 
Logos is pouring through it, precisely as a little re- 
volving column of dust and leaves, at the corner of 
the street, exists because of the whirling wind which 
made it. The existence of matter depends therefore 
absolutely upon the continuance of an idea in the mind 
of the Logos; if He chose to withdraw His force from 


the physical plane — to cease thinking it — every 
physical atom would instantly disintegrate, and the 
whole physical plane would disappear in an instant 
like the light of a candle when it is blown out. 

Besides this force which holds the atom together 
in its spiral form, a number of the forces of the 
Logos are also playing round its coils — or perhaps 
we should rather say, one of His forces is playing 
at a number of different levels. There are seven 
orders of this force, which are eventually, at the end 
of the seventh round, to play fully round the seven 
sets of spirilla?; but some of them are not yet in 
activity, since this is only the fourth round. 

There is some reason to believe that what the 
scientific people call electrons may be what we call 
astral atoms, for they have said that in a chemical 
atom of hydrogen there are probably somewhere be- 
tween seven hundred and a thousand of these elec- 
trons. Now it happens that in a chemical atom of 
hydrogen there are eight hundred and eighty-two 
astral atoms. This may of course be only a coinci- 
dence, but that seems somewhat improbable. If this 
suggestion be true it follows that in some of their 
experiments our scientific men must be actually dis- 
integrating physical matter, and throwing it back on 
to the astral plane; in which case it would seem that 
they must presently be forced to admit the existence 
of astral matter, though they will naturally think of 
it as nothing but a further subdivision of physical 

I do not know whether in such cases the disinteg- 
rated physical atoms re-form themselves; but in our 
experiments, when by an effort of the will the physi- 
cal atom is broken up into astral or mental atoms, it 
means only that for a moment the human will is set 


against the divine will which formed that atom. It 
requires a distinct effort to hold the atom temporarily 
in a different form, and the moment that the human 
will is withdrawn the divine will re-asserts itself and 
the physical atom is there once more. This, however, 
seems to apply only to the breaking up of the ulti- 
mate atoms of the plane; when for experimental pur- 
poses we break up a chemical atom into physical ulti- 
mate atoms, it remains in that condition, and does 
not return to its original state. 

In interstellar space (between solar systems) we 
are given to understand that atoms lie far apart and 
equidistant; and I believe that that is their normal 
condition when undisturbed. That is what is meant 
by speaking of the atoms as free. Within the atmos- 
phere of a planet they are never found in at all that 
state, for even when not grouped in forms, they are 
at any rate enormously compressed by the force of 

A man has a causal body on the atomic mental 
plane, but the mental atoms composing it will be 
crushed together by attraction into a very definite and 
quite dense shape, even though they are in no way 
altered in themselves, and are not grouped into mole- 
cules. Such a body could exist comfortably on its own 
atomic plane in the neighbourhood of a planet, where 
the atomic matter is in the compressed condition; 
but it would not at all be able to move or function in 
this far-away space where the atoms remain abso- 
lutely free and uncompressed. 

The conditions in interplanetary space are probably 
not exactly the same as in interstellar space, for there 
may be a great deal of disturbance due to cometic 
and meteoric matter, and also the tremendous attrac- 
tion of the sun produces a considerable compression 


within the limits of his system. Indeed, the vortex 
made in the first place by the Logos is of course still 
in action ; and part of its action was to draw in matter 
from the surrounding space and compress it. I have 
no information upon the question as to whether 
atoms floating within the limits of the solar system 
would or would not be necessarily all vivified by ele- 
mental essence. It seems to me most probable, how- 
ever, that only those atoms which make the mental, 
astral and physical bodies (the latter of course, in- 
cluding the atmosphere and the lower varieties of 
ether) of the sun and the various planets and comets 
would be so vivified. 

At any rate, as we began by saying, the Logos 
chooses His area — an area of size stupendous beyond 
our comprehension. Astronomy tells us that the dis- 
tance between solar systems is so enormous as to be 
out of all proportion to the systems themselves. It 
is nevertheless probable that the Logoi of those sys- 
tems are actually in touch with one another, and that 
the solar system existing in the centre of each of 
these inconceivably vast spheres represents the con- 
densation of matter which was originally scattered 
throughout the whole of that prodigious area, in a 
condition of the minutest possible subdivision — per- 
haps in the condition of the ultimate bubbles which 
are the atoms of our highest plane. 

At a certain stage in that condensation or com- 
pression — a stage when the radius of His globe still 
extends far beyond the orbit of the outermost planet 
of our system as it is to-day — He sets up within it a 
whirling motion accompanied by intense electrical 
action, thus making a kind of colossal vortex in many 
dimensions. The compression of the whirling mass 
is continued through what to us would be untold ages, 


in the course of which He breathes the seven breaths 
of which we have previously spoken, and thereby 
groups the bubbles into the atomic matter of the vari- 
ous planes. Eventually there comes a point at which 
He sends through it a kind of electrical shock, which 
precipitates it into a lower condition of matter, so 
that instead of being a mere aggregation of atoms it 
becomes definitely a combination of them, usually a 
mass of glowing hydrogen. 

Here we have the nebular stage, through which 
various systems in our universe are at this moment 
passing, as may be seen by means of any large tele- 
scope. As our nebula revolved round its axis it gradu- 
ally cooled, contracted and flattened down, so that 
eventually it became rather a huge revolving disc than 
a sphere. Presently fissures appeared in this disc 
and it broke into rings, presenting somewhat the ap- 
pearance of the planet Saturn and its surroundings, 
but on a gigantic scale. At a chosen point in each 
of these rings a subsidiary vortex was set up, and 
gradually much of the matter of the ring was gathered 
into this. The concussion of the fragments generated 
an amount of heat which reduced them to a gaseous 
condition and thus formed a huge glowing ball, which 
gradually, as it cooled, condensed into a planet. 

The planet formed upon the ring in this particular 
part of the system was, however, not the earth but 
the moon. We think of the moon as the satellite of 
the earth, comparing it in our minds with the satel- 
lites of Mars, Jupiter or Saturn; but in reality the 
comparison is unfair, for the moon is more a com- 
panion planet than a satellite. No other satellite in 
the solar system bears at all the same proportion to 
its primary as the moon does to the earth, even 
though it is now much smaller than it used to be, as 


will be presently explained. It was the one physical 
planet of the lunar chain, and our present humanity 
inhabited it in the distant past, although we were 
then a stage further back, and were in the animal 

The earth came into existence when the active life 
of the moon was already over. A new vortex was set 
up not far away from the moon, and the rest of the 
matter of the ring was gradually gathered into it. 
The resultant collisions once more produced a ball of 
glowing gas, which enfolded the body of the moon 
and very soon reduced it to a similar condition. As 
this combined mass gradually cooled, condensation 
took place round the two vortices, but by far the 
larger part of the matter was attracted to the new 
one which became the earth, leaving the moon a much 
smaller body than it had been and altogether denuded 
of air and water. 

The moon was still, from the intense heat, in a 
plastic condition like hot mud, and the earth in its 
earlier stages was subject to the most tremendous 
volcanic convulsions. In the course of these, enor- 
mous masses of rock, often many miles in diameter, 
were thrown up into space to vast distances in all 
directions. The majority of these fell back upon the 
earth, but some of them struck the moon while still 
in its plastic condition and produced upon it many 
of those huge depressions which we now call lunar 
craters. Any one who will take the trouble of throw- 
ing a few small pebbles into mud at the right stage 
of consistency will find that he obtains in that way an 
effect precisely similar to that which we observe upon 
the surface of the moon. Some of the lunar craters 
are really craters, but not many. 

The moon is now like a vast cinder, hard but porous, 


of a consistency not unlike that of pumice-stone, though 
harder. Hardly any physical action of any sort is 
now taking place upon the surface of the moon. It is 
probably slowly disintegrating, and we are told that 
in the course of our seventh round it will break up al- 
together, and its matter will be used (with presum- 
ably some of our own) to build a new world which 
will be the only physical globe of the next incarna- 
tion of our chain. To that new globe whatever re- 
mains of the earth will act as a satellite. 

The moon has often been described in Theosophical 
literature as the eighth sphere, because it is not one 
of the seven planets of our chain upon which evolu- 
tion is taking place. It is therefore what is called a 
"dead end," a place where only refuse gathers, and 
it is a kind of a dust-heap or waste-paper-basket to 
the system — a kind of astral cesspool into which are 
thrown decaying fragments of various sorts, such as 
the lost personality which has torn itself away from 
the ego, who has allowed it to slip out of his grasp 
in the manner which I explained in the first volume 
of this book, in the article on Lost Souls. 

The Planetary Chains 

Our solar system at the present moment contains 
ten chains, each consisting of seven globes, and these 
are evolving side by side, though at different stages. 
Seven of them are represented upon the physical level 
by one or more globes, but the three others exist only 
on higher levels. The number of globes on the physi- 
cal plane which a chain has at any given time depends 


upon the stage of its evolution. The globes of each 
chain present us with a small cycle of evolution de- 
scending into denser matter and then ascending out 
of it, and in an exactly analogous manner the suc- 
cessive incarnations of a chain also descend into denser 
matter and then ascend out of it. Our own chain is 
at the present moment at its lowest level of materiality, 
so that of its seven planets three are on the physical 
plane, two on the astral and two on the lower mental. 

We usually employ the letters of the alphabet to 
denote these globes in their order ; so we should repre- 
sent the present condition of affairs by saying that 
globes A and G are on the lower mental plane; globes 
B and F on the astral, and globes C, D, and E upon the 
physical level, C and E being smaller than D. It will 
be observed that in travelling round the chain the life- 
wave is steadily involving itself more and more in 
matter as it descends from A to D, but is rising again 
and casting, off successive veils of matter as it passes 
from D to G. 

This is the condition of affairs during the fourth 
and most material incarnation of each chain. But in 
the third and fifth incarnations each chain has its first 
and seventh planets on the higher mental, its second 
and sixth on the lower mental, its third and fifth on 
the astral, and only one planet, the fourth, on the 
physical plane. The second and sixth incarnations of 
each chain are one stage higher; their fourth planet 
is upon the astral plane, while the third and fifth are 
upon the lower mental, the second and sixth upon the 
higher mental and the first and seventh at the buddhic 
level. The first and seventh incarnations of a chain 
are one stage higher still, in that their lowest planets 
are on the lower mental plane and their first and 
seventh planets at the stage which we call nirvanic. 


It is net easy for us to attach any meaning to the 
idea of a planet upon planes so exalted as the nirvanic 
or buddhic, and we are perhaps scarcely justified in 
using the term. All that we mean is that there is a 
certain location in space where the evolution of cer- 
tain groups of monads is taking place through agencies 
which work on those exalted levels. 

Each of these seventy planets may be regarded as 
having a definite location in space and as revolving 
round, or in some way depending upon, our sun. Of 
these seventy planets only twelve are physical, and 
even of those twelve one is not yet recognised by 
science and two others have only lately been discovered. 

The existence of Vulcan was accepted by some as- 
tronomers a century ago, but as it cannot now be 
found, the scientific men of the present day hold that 
the earlier observations were incorrect. No astrono- 
mer had dreamt of the two planets beyond the orbit 
of Neptune at the time when they were first men- 
tioned in Theosophical writings, but now their exist- 
ence is admitted in consequence of the deflections which 
they have produced in certain cometary orbits. 

Madame Blavatsky says that Neptune is not in our 
solar system, but there can be no question that it re- 
volves round our sun. Madame Blavatsky therefore 
must have been speaking in some occult or symbolical 
sense when she used those words. From the occult 
point of view also, the Neptunian chain is clearly part 
of our system, being one of the ten chains which com- 
pose it ; so we are unable at the moment to attach any 
meaning to Madame Blavatsky's statement. That does 
not in the least imply that it is really meaningless or 

We have frequently found that passages in her 
writings, which we had been for a long time com- 


pelled to put aside as incomprehensible and apparently 
contrary to known facts, had nevertheless a definite 
meaning and a certain sense in which they were true, 
though these were discoverable only when (by pene- 
trating to higher planes) fresh aspects of the subject 
were brought into view. No doubt in due time this 
will prove to be the case with this enigmatical state- 
ment about Neptune. 

Besides those on the seventy planets of which we 
have spoken, there are other evolutions taking place, 
every inch of place being utilised. Even in the koilon 
itself there may be an evolution going on of which we 
know nothing and can imagine nothing. We know as 
yet so little of this marvellous system to which we 
belong; all this teaching of Theosophy which has so 
changed our lives is but the lifting of a tiny corner of 
the veil. All space is filled with life, and there are 
even lower orders than that of the physical plane. It 
sometimes happens that a human being comes into 
touch with that lower evolution, but that is always 
undesirable. Yet it would be a great mistake to speak 
of the inhabitants of this lower world as wicked. 
Certainly that evolution brings harm to us if we be- 
come entangled with it, but that is because it is not 
meant for us. 

Of the seven chains that have physical planets, tak- 
ing them in order, beginning with the nearest to the 
sun and working outwards, we have first Vulcan, with 
only one physical planet, which is small and must be 
very hot. The Vulcan chain is in its third incarnation, 
but we are given to understand that its scheme of evo- 
lution is not destined to bring the entities concerned 
with it to as high a level as will be ultimately attained 
by the inhabitants of our own planet. 

Mercury is the next planet, and belongs to the 


Venus is the only physical planet of the chain of 
which it is a part. It is in the seventh round of its 
fifth incarnation, and it represents the most advanced 
degree of evolution yet attained by humanity in this 
solar system. Being so far advanced, it has been able 
to afford assistance to other and less developed evolu- 
tions; from it, as we know, descended the Lords of 
the Flame, who gave so great a stimulus to the pro- 
gress of humanity in the middle of our third root-race. 

It is a remarkable fact that the astronomers of a 
hundred and fifty years ago recorded several observa- 
tions of a satellite of Venus, whereas now it is quite 
certain that no such orb exists. The usual suppo- 
sition is that those earlier astronomers erred. But 
this is scarcely likely in view of the number and 
character of the witnesses, and also their repeated ob- 
servations. It was seen by astronomers as well known 
as Cassini and Short, in 1761, and that not once but 
many times, and with different telescopes. It was ob- 
served by Scheuten during the whole of its transit along 
with Venus in the same year; it was seen four times 
by Montaigne, and again in 1764 by Rodkier, Horre- 
bow and Montbaron. It was estimated to have a 
diameter of about two thousand miles. It is surely 
more probable that all these astronomers were right in 
their observations, for we are told that in our seventh 
round the moon will disintegrate and we shall be left 
without a satellite. It may be only a coincidence that 
Venus is in its seventh round, but it is a curious one. 

The next planets are our Earth and Mars, and these 
two, along with Mercury, are the three physical planets 
of a chain which is in its fourth incarnation. Our 
Earth is the lowest and most material of the series — 
planet D, while Mars is our planet C and Mercury our 
planet E. A good many of the more advanced mem- 


bers of our present humanity were not upon the planet 
Mars when the life-wave last swept over it, as will be 
explained later; but the great bulk of the human race 
has certainly passed through a series of incarnations 
on that planet, and we have left behind us many traces 
of our occupation, of which the present inhabitants 
are abundantly availing themselves. When our 
present occupancy of the earth ends for a time, we 
shall all pass on to the somewhat less material life of 
the planet Mercury, where the average level of con- 
sciousness may be somewhat more extended than it 
is here, since ordinary humanity will then possess 
what is now called etheric sight. There are no 
grounds whatever, so far as I know, for the state- 
ment made by a recent writer that the real names of 
Mercury and Venus have been interchanged. Indeed, 
we know a great deal about these planets which makes 
the idea inconceivable. 

Next come the asteroids — material which will 
make a world some time; but we do not count them 

The giant of the solar system, Jupiter, has a chain 
of its own. It is in an early stage of its evolution, 
being very much too hot for life, such as we know, 
to exist on its surface; but its satellites are inhabited. 
Its surface has seas of molten metals, and similar con- 
ditions exist on all the outside giant planets. It has 
a density about that of water, if you take the whole 
mass ; but what we see is really the outside of a mass 
of cloud thousands of miles in depth — so we get a 
false estimate of the actual size of the planet itself. 
The Jupiter scheme is at present in the second round 
of its third incarnation. We are told that this sys- 
tem will eventually raise its humanity to an extremely 
high level. 


Next we come to Saturn, with its wonderful system 
of rings and satellites. It is the only physical planet 
of its chain. It also is in an early round of its third 
incarnation, and we understand that the development 
connected with it is slower than most of the others, 
but that it will ultimately reach exalted levels. 

As to the schemes to which the outer planets Uranus 
and Neptune belong, we have but little information, 
though we know that the latter is in its fourth incar- 
nation, because of the fact that to it belong also the 
two other physical planets whose orbits lie outside its 
own. The conditions existing on all these gigantic 
outer members of the solar systems must be altogether 
so entirely cifferent from those on the small inner 
planets that it is practically impossible to form any 
idea of the sort of life which must be lived by their 
inhabitants, even in the future when the globes have 
cooled down. 

Successive Life-Waves 

The conception of the successive life-waves which 
pour out from the Logos should not be a difficult one, 
yet it frequently happens that some confusion seems 
to arise in the mind of the student in connection 
with it. 

Perhaps this comes partially from the fact that the 
term "life-wave" has been employed in our literature 
in three distinct senses. First, it has been used to 
denote the three great outpourings of Divine Life by 
means of which our solar system came into existence 


— by which its evolution is carried on. Secondly, it 
has been applied to the successive impulsions of which 
the second outpouring is formed ; and it is in this sense 
principally that I shall employ the term now. Thirdly, 
the expression has been accepted as signifying the 
transference of life from one planet of our chain to 
another in the course of evolution. 

A life-wave of this third type does not at all cor- 
respond to the life-wave of the second type, but con- 
sists of synchronous portions of seven of the latter, 
treated as though they constituted a single entity. As 
we all know, we have with us at the present time seven 
kingdoms in manifestation — the human, the animal, 
the vegetable, the mineral, and the three elemental 
kingdoms which precede the mineral. 

We must realise that all these are manifestations 
of the same life — the one life of the Logos manifest- 
ing in that second great outpouring which comes from 
His second aspect after the primitive matter has been 
prepared for its reception by the action of the first 
outpouring which comes from the third aspect (see 
The Christian Creed, p. 40). That second outpouring 
comes forth in a series of successive waves, following 
one another as the waves of the sea follow one an- 
other. Each of these waves has reached its present 
stage by passing through all the earlier stages, and in 
each of those it has spent a period of time correspond- 
ing to the life of a chain of seven worlds, sometimes 
called a manvantara. 

This Sanskrit word manvantara literally means the 
period between two Manus, and so it might be applied 
at various levels. We see from The Secret Doctrine 
that each root-race has its Manu, a great adept who 
takes charge of it, and superintends its formation and 
growth. But there is also a Manu for the world- 


period which includes the seven root-races; and yet 
again there is a still greater Manu who superintends 
the progress of the life-wave (using that term in its 
third sense) through all the seven planets of the chain; 
and since one complete journey through all those seven 
globes has been called a round, He is spoken of as the 

Seven such rounds complete one life-period for a 
planetary chain — one incarnation of the chain, as it 
were; and over this enormous period there is a Great 
One who presides, and to Him also this title of Manu 
is accorded. Higher still there is One who presides 
over the seven successive chains, which may be re- 
garded as the seven incarnations of our chain, making 
one complete scheme of evolution; but He is usually 
spoken of not as a Manu, but as the Logos of seven 
chains, or sometimes as the Planetary Logos. So we 
have here a graduated hierarchy of mighty adepts, ex- 
tending up to Divinity itself. 

It is obvious, therefore, that the term manvantara 
might indicate various periods of time, corresponding 
to the levels at which it was employed; but in our 
Theosophical literature it has generally been used to 
indicate the duration of one chain — the time occupied 
by the life-wave in making seven rounds. To the 
greater period of the seven successive incarnations of 
the chain, the name of mahamanvantara (which means 
simply great manvantara) has sometimes been given. 

The following table may be of use to our students, 
as summarising the system of evolution : 

7 Branch Races make . . . . One Sub-race. 

7 Sub-races make 
7 Root-races make 
7 World-periods make 
7 Rounds make 
7 Chain-periods make 
10 Planetary Schemes make 

One Root-race. 

One World-period. 

One Round. 

One Chain-period. 

One Planetary Scheme. 

Our Solar System. 


It is scarcely practical for us at present to endeavour 
to estimate in years the exact length of these enor- 
mous expanses of time. In exoteric Hindu books 
definite numbers are given, but Madame Blavatsky 
tells us that it is impossible to rely fully upon these, 
as other and esoteric considerations are involved, 
which the writers do not take into account. We have 
no direct information upon these points, but there is 
some reason to suspect that the time of the rounds 
is not an invariable quantity, but that some are 
shorter than others. It has been thought that those 
in front of us will probably not be so long as those 
through which we have passed; but here again we 
have no certain information, and it seems useless to 

At all these stages there are always seven life-waves 
in action. In every one of these chains is a human 
kingdom, and it is always accompanied by its broth- 
ers, an animal, a vegetable and a mineral kingdom. 
But each of these is steadily evolving; so that the 
life-wave which is ensouling the animal kingdom of 
the present day will in the next chain have arrived at 
the human level, and will provide the causal bodies 
for the humanity of that chain. In the same way the 
life-wave which ensouls our vegetable kingdom now 
will ensoul the animal kingdom then, and so on. 

It of course follows from this that we were the 
animal kingdom of the moon-chain, and the vegetable 
kingdom of the chain previous to that. That is not 
precisely an accurate method of expression, because 
we as separate egos did not exist then ; but that wave 
of essence which in the first chain ensouled the mineral 
kingdom, in the second chain the vegetable, and in the 
third chain the animal, has now been employed in 
the formation of those causal bodies which we are 
inhabiting at the present day. 


What then will be the future progress of that 
wave, and how will it appear in the next chain? It 
will not appear there at all, for we must remember 
that at the close of this human evolution man finds 
always before him the seven paths which open the 
way to still further development. I have tried to ex- 
plain these, so far as they may at present be de- 
scribed, in the concluding chapter of Invisible Help- 

I need not repeat here what I then wrote, but I 
may add to it a fragment of information which has 
since come to my knowledge. One of those paths, 
which we had then to leave blank, leads to what we 
have called a staff appointment. Every general has, 
quite apart from the regular officers who hold various 
commands under him, a special set of officers who 
form his staff, whose duty it is to be in personal at- 
tendance upon him, and to be ready at any moment 
to do anything that he may require, or to fill any 
vacancy that may occur. The Solar Logos also has 
His staff — a number of adepts who are not in the ser- 
vice of any particular chain, yet ever prepared to be 
sent to the aid of any that need assistance. To join 
this body is one of the seven possibilities which lie 
before him who has "reached the further shore." 

When the time comes for our chain to disintegrate 
and for the life from it to pass into the fifth chain, 
we shall already have moved on to a stage beyond the 
human, along one or other of these seven paths. Con- 
sequently the humanity which will commence as primi- 
tive man in the fifth chain will not be ourselves at 
all, but will be the wave next behind us — that which is 
ensouling our present animal kingdom. 

In the same way our vegetable monad will have 
evolved a stage higher, and will ensoul the animal 


kingdom of that new chain; while the life- wave 
which is now animating the mineral kingdom will by 
that time have risen to the level of the vegetable 
kingdom. Thus we see that of the seven life-waves 
which we now know, six will be present in the fifth 
chain, but each will have gained a stage in its de- 

Our present human life-wave, having obtained the 
object of its immersion into matter, has passed out 
of this series of chains altogether, though some of 
those who were its members may still retain a vol- 
untary connection with it for the purpose of help- 
ing its evolution. But since each of our waves has 
moved on a stage, how is the place of the hindmost 
supplied? Are we to suppose that the first elemental 
kingdom will no longer be represented in the new 
chain ? By no means ; for we find that a fresh life- 
wave from the Logos is following close behind the 
others, and so this new influx completes the seven. 

Precisely the same process has taken place in con- 
nection with each chain in succession. In each of 
them one life-wave has attained its goal, and passed 
off through seven channels to some entirely higher 
form of manifestation; and each of those behind it 
has moved forward one stage, and the place of the 
hindmost has in each case been filled by a fresh influx 
of life from the Logos. 

Each of these waves enters in each chain-period 
at the lowest level of the kingdom which it is en- 
souling, and passes out of that kingdom at its high- 
est point. A fresh influx of life from the Logos 
enters the first elemental kingdom in each chain, and 
there are six such influxes in our scheme, so that we 
have altogether thirteen successive life-waves at 
work in this scheme of seven chains, though never 


more than seven of them are in operation simul- 
taneously. All are moving steadily onward but always 
preserving the same distance between them, and we 
can take up any particular wave at any point in its 
progress and follow it backwards or forwards as we 

Take for example the seventh of these waves. It 
enters into the first incarnation of the chain as the 
first elemental kingdom; in the second chain it has 
reached the level of the second elemental kingdom, 
and in the lunar chain it ensouls the third. In our 
present chain it animates our mineral kingdom, while 
in the fifth and sixth chains it will ensoul respectively 
the vegetable and animal kingdoms. In the seventh 
chain it will arrive at the level of humanity, and will 
then pass off through its seven channels, as the other 
humanities have done. We have then the complete 
history of this life-wave before us, from the time 
when it emerged into manifestation in the first ele- 
mental kingdom, until it is again attaining divine 
levels at the end of its appointed evolution. 

We have not before us in our scheme the complete 
evolution of any other wave than this. If, for 
example, we trace back our own life-wave, we shall 
find that it ensouled the animal kingdom in the moon- 
chain, the vegetable kingdom in the second chain, 
and the mineral kingdom in the first chain. Where 
then did it gain the evolution of the three elemental 
kingdoms? For it must obviously have advanced 
through those stages before it manifested as the 
mineral. It has passed through them in some pre- 
vious scheme of chains — we know not where or when. 
It is evident that the only entirely new impulse in 
that first chain of our scheme was the seventh life- 
wave, for all the others which form part of that first 


chain had already gone through some portion of 
their evolution in anterior schemes of worlds. Its 
humanity must evidently have passed through the six 
antecedent stages in that unknown past, and it came 
here only to acquire the finishing touch to its educa- 
tion which prepared it to pass off along the seven 
paths which lay open before it. 

But our life-waves stretch onward into the future 
as well as back into the past. The eighth wave, for 
example, which entered for the first time in the 
second chain as a fresh impulse from the Divine Life, 
has no time in our scheme of evolution to reach the 
human level. In our present chain it is ensouling the 
third elemental kingdom, and causing us a great deal 
of trouble in the shape of desire-elementals. In the 
seventh chain that wave will be ensouling the animal 
kingdom, and it will therefore attain humanity in the 
first chain of some unknown scheme of globes, hidden 
at present in the womb of the future. 

Naturally the remaining waves, from the ninth to 
the thirteenth, are also unfinished, so that out of all 
the waves which use our scheme as the theatre of their 
evolution only one finds time to complete all its stages 
— a fact which, if we can realise all that it involves, 
gives us a deeply impressive illustration of the vast- 
ness of the resources of nature, a glimpse into the 
illimitable eternities through which, never hastening 
yet never resting, her unfoldment proceeds with such 
splendid precision. 

Now that we have clearly in our minds the steady 
progress of these life-waves, we must immediately 
proceed to modify our conception by the introduction 
into it of another important factor. In each case of 
transference from one kingdom to another, there is 
always a certain part of the life-wave which does not 


succeed in passing, and is therefore left behind. We 
may perhaps understand that most easily if we begin 
by thinking of the future of our own humanity. 

We know that the goal set before us is the attain- 
ment of that level of initiation which has been called 
adeptship — the position of the asekha, "the one who 
has no more to learn" with regard to our planetary 
chain. But we also know that it will not be the whole 
of humanity that will succeed in this lofty aim, but 
only a certain part of it. We are told that in the 
middle of the next round a separation will occur be- 
tween those souls who are strong enough to under- 
take the higher stages of evolution and those who are 

This separation has been prefigured by the many 
legends of a "last judgment" at which the future 
destiny of the souls for this aeon would be decided. 
The diseased imagination of the mediaeval monk, al- 
ways seeking an opportunity to introduce grotesquely 
exaggerated horrors into his creed in order to terrify 
an incredibly ignorant peasantry into more liberal 
donations for the support of Mother-Church, distorted 
into "eternal damnation" the perfectly simple idea of 
asonian suspension. 

Those who are left behind at this period have 
sometimes been described as "the failures of the fifth 
round," though perhaps even this is somewhat too harsh 
a term. There may well be some among them who 
by greater exertion might have qualified themselves 
to pass onward, and these are rightly spoken of as 
failures; but the majority will be left behind simply 
because they are too young to go on, and so not strong 
enough for the more difficult work. 

The facts of the case may be stated quite simply. 
The lower classes of monads passed only gradually 


from the animal kingdom into the human during the 
earlier half of our present chain-period. Some of 
them are still, consequently, at an early stage of the 
human evolution, and are therefore exceedingly un- 
likely to overtake the classes which are so far in ad- 
vance of them. We have been given to understand 
that it is just possible for even the lowest savage to 
reach before the middle of the fifth round the level 
necessary for continued evolution, but in order to do 
this he must never once fail to take advantage of 
each opportunity as it is offered to him, and the num- 
ber who will do this will be infinitesimally small. It 
is calculated that the proportion who will be prepared 
to go on will amount to about three-fifths of the total 
population of the earth (not merely of the physical 
population, it will be understood, but of the total 
number of egos who constitute the human life-wave 
evolving through this chain) while the remaining two- 
fifths will be left behind. 

The surroundings in the world at that time will be 
specially adapted for the rapid progress of the more 
advanced egos, and will therefore be wholly unsuit- 
able for entities at a much lower stage of evolution, 
as the gross vibrations of violent passion and of strong 
coarse feelings which are necessary for the develop- 
ment of the inert and half-formed astral body of the 
savage will be no longer available. We can easily 
imagine many ways in which this unsuitability would 
show itself. In a world of high intellectual and spirit- 
ual development, where war and the slaughter of ani- 
mals have long been things of the past, the existence 
of savage races, full of undisciplined passions and de- 
sire for conflict, would obviously introduce many 
serious difficulties and complications; and though no 
doubt means might be devised for their repression, 


that very repression would debar them from the 
activities requisite for their early stage of evolution. 

Obviously, therefore, the kindest and best thing to 
do with those who are thus backward is simply to 
drop them out from this evolution, and let them pre- 
pare to take their place in next year's class — in the 
next planetary chain. Such entities will not suffer 
in any way; they will simply have a very prolonged 
period of rest in such heaven-life as they may be 
capable of appreciating, and no doubt, even though 
their consciousness during this period will probably 
be but partially awakened, a certain amount of inner 
progress will be going on. 

From that condition they will descend into the 
earlier stages of the evolution of the next chain, and 
will be among the leaders of primitive humanity 
there. We should not think of them as in any way 
put back, but merely as assigned to the position to 
which they really belong, where their progress is 
easy and certain. It is to this class that Madame 
Blavatsky referred when she spoke of vast numbers 
of "lost souls"; though this term "lost souls," when 
employed in this connection, sometimes misleads stu- 
dents who have not yet grasped the full splendour 
and certainty of the evolutionary scheme. 

We may think then of each life-wave in its passage 
through the chain as breaking up into wavelets. Con- 
sider what will be the progress made by our own life- 
wave. Broadly speaking, this represents the animal 
kingdom of the moon, though the failures of the 
lunar humanity have naturally joined it, and may be 
expected to be among its leaders. 

The whole of the wave which ensouled that lunar 
animal kingdom should theoretically have entered 
humanity during the earlier part of this chain, and 


should by the end of the seventh round attain the 
goal appointed for it. 

We who are now human beings in this chain 
ought all of us to attain adeptship, and pass away 
from this scheme of evolution altogether by one of 
the seven paths which open before the adept, while 
what is now our animal kingdom ought by the end of 
this chain to attain individualisation, and therefore 
to be ready to furnish the humanity for the next 
chain, the fifth of the scheme. 

We know, however, that two-fifths of our humanity 
will fall out in the middle of the fifth round, because 
it is obviously too far behind the rest to enable it 
even with the greatest efforts to attain the goal dur- 
ing this chain. This two-fifths will enter the next 
chain along with the members of our present animal 
kingdom, and will therefore constitute part of that 
future humanity. 

One of the great reasons why the division between 
the more advanced and the less advanced must be 
made in the middle of the fifth round is that the later 
races will be in much closer touch with the adepts 
and the great devas than we are now. It will there- 
fore be necessary for them to hold themselves always 
in an impressible condition, in readiness to receive and 
respond to an outpouring of influences. This in its 
turn requires that they shall live a peaceful and con- 
templative life, which would be an impossibility if 
there were still left in the world savage races who 
would attack and kill the man in a state of contem- 
plation. The more powerful vibrations of that time 
would not rouse the higher nature of the savage, but 
would only stimulate and intensify his lower passions, 
so that he would gain nothing by being on earth at 
that period, while he would make impossible the 
progress of the more developed people. 


But the other three-fifths of our present humanity, 
which may be described as successful in so far as it 
does not drop out at the day of judgment in the 
fifth round, will yet not all of it succeed, in the 
sense of attaining the asekha level. It is thought 
that probably about one-fifth of the whole number 
(that is to say, one-third of those who have not 
dropped out) will fully achieve; but that means 
that two-thirds of the successes will still at the end 
of our chain of worlds have further work to do, be- 
fore they have reached the level intended for them. 
They also will have to enter the next chain, though 
they will not need the earlier stages of its evolution; 
so they will probably appear at about its middle point, 
much as the higher classes of monads who came over 
from the moon entered our present evolution at its 
middle point. The matter will, however, be compli- 
cated for them by the fact that, just as on this chain 
the point set before us for attainment is higher than 
that of the moon-chain, so will the level of achieve- 
ment expected on the fifth chain be higher than ours. 
With that, however, we have no concern for the mo- 

The actual distribution at the end of our planetary 
chain will probably be into several well-defined classes, 
somewhat as follows; though obviously each of these 
might be further subdivided: 

1. Those who, having intelligently studied evolu- 
tion and determined to take the shorter and steeper 
Path to the goal, have already attained adeptship in 
previous rounds. 

2. Those who attain the asekha level in the seventh 
round. These are the highest class of the men who 
have moved along with the ordinary stream of evolu- 
tion — the vanguard of those who have followed the 


usual path. They may be taken as corresponding, 
for our chain, to the first class of the moon-men. 

3. Those who have fallen short of this perfect at- 
tainment, but yet have succeeded in reaching the 
arhat level in the seventh round. They correspond 
for our chain to the second class of the moon-men, 
and will need very few births in the next incarna- 
tion of the chain before they also gain the level of 

4. Those who, while they passed the examination 
at the middle of the fifth round, have not yet suc- 
ceeded in raising themselves above the three lower 
levels of the Path Proper. These may perhaps be 
taken to correspond for our chain with the animal- 
men of the moon, who had only just contrived to 
separate themselves from the animal kingdom, and 
consequently had much preparatory work to do in the 
new chain. 

5. Those who, while they succeeded in attaining 
humanity in our earth-chain, yet failed to raise them- 
selves sufficiently to justify their continuance in that 
chain after the middle of the fifth round. There will, 
no doubt, be several subdivisions or classes among 

6. Those who have failed altogether to gain the level 
of humanity. These will be some of the very lowest 
of the monads, who had only just reached the ani- 
mal kingdom on the moon, and have been slowly 
rising during the earth-chain, but have not suc- 
ceeded in attaining individualisation. 

It is not only in the case of humanity that we find 
this failure to attain the destined level. The same 
thing appears to happen in connection with every 
kingdom all through the course of evolution. While 
the majority of each wave of monads fulfil the 


destiny appointed for them, there is in each a mi- 
nority who fall behind, and a much smaller minority 
who run far in advance of that destiny. For example, 
just as a few men are now rising far above their 
fellows and attaining adeptship, so a few animals 
are even already breaking away from their group- 
souls and becoming individualised, though the great 
body of the animal life-wave will arrive at indi- 
vidualisation only towards the end of the seventh 
round, and will form the humanity of the fifth chain. 
The men who are approaching adeptship are always 
those who are in close touch with the existing adepts 
as Their pupils; the animals who are approaching 
humanity are usually those who are in close touch 
with the existing humanity as pets specially de- 
veloped in affection and intelligence. 

In the earlier days of the Theosophical teaching 
we supposed that even if an animal by specially rapid 
development should become individualised here and 
now, he would still have to wait until the next chain 
before he could secure a human body. Later investi- 
gations, however, have shown us that exceptions to 
this rule are at this stage still possible, and that ani- 
mals who are fortunate enough to attain individual- 
isation during this present world-period may be ac- 
commodated with primitive human bodies at the 
commencement of the occupation by our life-wave 
of the next planet in our present chain. It is ob- 
vious that the number of animals prepared to take 
advantage of this (which, so far as we can see, ap- 
pears likely to be their final opportunity of entering 
the human life of this chain) must be relatively ex- 
ceedingly small; but still it is a possibility which we 
must take into account if we wish correctly to com- 
prehend the course of evolution. 


I have once seen a case in which there were special 
features that made an even earlier incarnation possi- 
ble — a case of an animal which had shown in earth- 
life not only great intelligence, but also unusually 
strong devotion to his human friend, a devotion which 
of course continued in the astral life and was even 
stronger there than ever. The animal's power of 
definite thought was such that during life he fre- 
quently travelled great distances in his astral body 
when asleep, to visit his master on his journeys. In 
this case definite progress was made in the astral 
life after death, and the response to our efforts was 
much greater than we had hoped, for the astral life 
gave us a better opportunity than was possible on the 
physical plane to grasp the exact limits of the ani- 
mal's lines of thought. They were few, narrow and 
curiously limited; but yet they extended much fur- 
ther along their lines than one would suppose. 

Certain new lines of thought opened up in the 
astral life, and the developments were exceedingly 
interesting. An almost immediate incarnation in 
this world was clearly possible, but there were some 
curious combinations which made the matter diffi- 
cult to arrange. The animal would have been a 
primitive savage in many ways, and yet could only 
have been incarnated in immediate personal relation 
with his master, for whom his attachment was so 
strong that it would have been impossible to keep 
him away from him. This presented serious diffi- 
culties, but still they might somehow have been over- 
come, but for the fact that it was impossible to 
guarantee the sex of the savage! 

Presumably among the animals that succeed there 
will also be various classes, corresponding in a gen- 
eral way in this evolution to the various classes of 


monads in the lunar evolution; and some of the ani- 
mal essence at present ensouling the lowest forms of 
life will certainly fail to attain the human level in 
this chain, and will therefore correspond in the ani- 
mal kingdom to our "failures of the fifth round." As 
to whether these forms also will disappear from the 
earth at that same period in the fifth round we have 
no direct information, but analogy would seem to re- 
quire that this should be so. The same differentia- 
tion into classes, according to the measure of suc- 
cess achieved, has been observed in connection with 
all the lower kingdoms, so that in reality each life- 
wave ought to be symbolised as breaking up con- 
stantly into ripples or wavelets, some of which in 
time join the preceding or succeeding waves, though 
the majority move steadily along their appointed 

The seven life- waves which ensoul our seven king- 
doms have always for their principal field of action 
the planet to which the attention of the Logos is for 
the moment directed; but a certain small proportion 
of their action is always manifesting in the other 
worlds of the chain also. Thus, although the at- 
tention of the Planetary Logos is now fixed upon our 
earth, there are yet representatives of all the king- 
doms simultaneously existing upon every one of the 
six other globes of our chain. These are often de- 
scribed as the seed from which the forms will de- 
velope when the life-wave reaches the planet — that 
is to say, when the special attention of the Planetary 
Logos is turned to it once more. 

These forms have remained in existence upon their 
respective planets ever since they were first filled by 
the lunar animal-men in the first round, and in this 
way the trouble of what might be called fresh crea- 


tion for each globe in each round is avoided. The 
life ensouling these forms during the comparative 
obscuration of those planets is still part of the great 
wave, and is still moving onward in connection with 
it. It serves other functions besides that of provid- 
ing the seed for the incoming wave, since it is also 
employed as a means of more rapid evolution for cer- 
tain classes of monads. 

It is by the special treatment thus given that it is 
possible for the second-class monad to overtake the 
first class and become one of its members. Under 
certain conditions of strong desire for advancement, 
if he is seen to be striving with exceptional vigour 
to improve himself, he may be separated from the 
great masses of his fellows on this planet, and passed 
by the authorities into what is called the Inner 
Round, and may take his next incarnation among the 
limited population of Mercury. In that case he will 
spend there about the same time that he would other- 
wise have devoted to incarnations in one root-race, and 
will then pass on to the astral planet F. After a 
similar stay there he will be transferred to globes 
G, A and B successively, and then to Mars and to the 

As in each of these spheres he will have made a 
stay about equivalent to the normal period of a root- 
race, the life-wave will have left the Earth before his 
return, but he will overtake it upon the planet Mer- 
cury, and will then join the ranks of the first-class 
monads and share the remainder of their evolution 
and their varied opportunities of more rapid de- 
velopment. Entities engaged upon this special line 
of evolution form the majority of the small popula- 
tion of Mercury and Mars at the present time. In 
the latter planet there is also a certain residuum of 


primitive mankind which was unprepared to pass on 
when the life-wave left for the Earth — a race which 
represents a stage of humanity lower than any at 
present existing within our cognisance. It will prob- 
ably be extinct long before we reach Mars in the 
fifth round, since there appear to be no other egos 
needing manifestation at that level for the moment. 

In the same way we find that all the kingdoms are 
represented upon the astral and mental globes. It 
is not very easy for us to grasp with our physical 
consciousness what can be the condition of the life 
of the lower kingdoms on these higher planes; the 
idea of the evolution of a mineral on the mental plane, 
for example, suggests nothing readily comprehensi- 
ble to the ordinary mind. We may perhaps help our- 
selves towards the understanding of it by remem- 
bering that every mineral must have its astral and 
mental counterparts, and that the special types of 
matter which form these are also on their respec- 
tive planes manifestations of the mineral monad, and 
we may suppose that through such manifestations 
that monad is evolving during its existence on these 
loftier levels. 

The group-soul must always contain within itself 
latent possibilities connected with the higher planes 
through which it has descended; and it may be that 
in those stages of evolution these potentialities are 
being developed by some method quite outside those 
with which we are familiar. Without the unfolding 
of psychic faculties we cannot expect to understand 
in detail the hidden growth in these exalted spheres 
of finer matter; the important point is that we should 
realise that although the great life-wave resides only 
upon one globe of our group at a given time, the re- 
maining planets are by no means dormant, and use- 


fill progress is continually being made in every part 
of our chain. 

I have tried to make the above description of the 
successive life-waves as clear as possible; but lest it 
should still present some difficulties to the mind of a 
reader unaccustomed to the study of this system of 
cosmogony, I append a little diagram which I think 
may be of assistance. The vertical columns indicate 
the successive incarnations of the chain; the horizon- 
tal divisions represent the various kingdoms of 
nature; the diagonal arrows are the successive waves 
of evolution which have come forth from the Logos. 
The arabic numbers attached to each of these arrows 
apply to those arrows only, and not to the squares 
in which they happen to come. It will be seen that 
there are thirteen of these arrows. Their length ap- 
pears to vary, but that is only because we are regard- 
ing them solely from the point of view of our own 
scheme of evolution. 

Within the limits of that scheme arrow No. 1 ap- 
pears to cross only one kingdom — the human. That 
does not at all mean that the wave represented by 
that arrow has not passed through the six previous 
stages; it means only that those six previous stages 
have been experienced in some other scheme. Just 
the same thing is true at the opposite corner of the 
diagram. Arrow No. 13 crosses only one kingdom — 
the first elemental; it will inevitably in due course 
have to pass through all the other kingdoms, but it 
cannot do so in this scheme of evolution, because that 
is already at an end. So far as our diagram is con- 
cerned it appears in that one kingdom only. 

If we take the column representing any one chain 
— let us say the fourth, which denotes our present 
stage of evolution — we shall find in running the eye 




down it that seven arrows pass through it, indicat- 
ing the seven kingdoms now existing around us. 
We can follow any one of those arrows either back- 
wards or forwards, and so can trace any of our king- 
doms either in the past or in the future. We should 
note that waves 1 to 6 come to us from some other 
scheme of evolution, while waves 7 to 13 are fresh 
emanations from the Logos. 

The Monads from the Moon 

Those who have studied the Theosophical system 
are aware that we divide humanity into various 
classes according to the age of the ego, and the degree 
of his development. Transaction No. 26 of the Lon- 
don Lodge gives this arrangement very clearly, and 
it is also to be found in Chapter XII of The Ancient 
Wisdom; but our students will see that the author 
of the last-named work has altered the numbering 
of the classes so as to bring it more nearly into agree- 
ment with that adopted in The Secret Doctrine. 

Mrs- Besant separates from the rest those entities 
to which the London Lodge Transaction had given 
the titles of the first and second classes, and calls 
them solar monads, so that she begins her list of the 
lunar monads with those that the Transaction had 
called the third class, and to it she gives the name of 
the first class; consequently in The Ancient Wisdom 
the fourth class of the Transaction is called the 
second, and the fifth becomes the third. Madame 
Blavatsky's fourth class covers Mr. Sinnett's sixth 
and seventh, while the remainder of her classes in- 




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eludes entities which he did not take into account at 
all. His classification dealt only with members of the 
lunar animal kingdom, which would become human 
on our earth-chain ; hers took in everything which 
passed over from the lunar chain to this. Her fifth 
class represents the vegetable kingdom of the moon, 
and her sixth class its mineral kingdom, while her 
seventh includes all three of its elemental kingdoms. 

Since the writing of The Ancient Wisdom and The 
Pedigree of Man, Mrs. Besant has thought it advisa- 
ble to adopt clearly descriptive English names in 
place of those which have previously been used. To 
those who fully succeeded upon the moon-chain, and 
attained the arhat level prescribed for them, she 
gives the title of Lords of the Moon. Those whom she 
had previously called solar monads (whom Mr. Sin- 
nett had described as first and second class pitris) 
are now to be called moon-men of the first and second 
orders respectively. The first order of moon-men 
has many sub-divisions, as we shall see directly. 
What she previously called the first-class monads 
(Mr. Sinnett's third class) are now described as 
lunar animal-men. Her second, third and fourth 
classes (corresponding, as above stated, to Mr. Sin- 
nett's fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh) are now de- 
scribed as the first, second and third divisions of the 
lunar animals. This completes the list of the entities 
constituting our present humanity, as Madame Bla- 
vatsky's lower classes (of which Mr. Sinnett took 
no account) will not attain the human level in the 
present chain. 

These classes are arranged in the order of their 
advancement, and they differ not only in appearance 
but also in the methods by which that advancement 
is attained. Among other points there is great 


difference in the length of the intervals between suc- 
cessive incarnations, and in the way in which these 
intervals are spent; but this part of the subject will 
be treated in the section on reincarnation. 

To understand how these classes are distinguished 
we must remember that for each chain of worlds a 
definite level of attainment is laid down, and to reach 
that is to gain full success. In our pi-esent chain of 
worlds the level assigned is that of the asekha adept, 
but in the moon-chain it was the fourth step of the 
Path, that of the arhat. Those who fully attained 
that on the luner chain had achieved the purpose of 
the Logos, and so were free to take one or other of 
the seven paths which always open before the per* 
fected humanity of each chain. 

Below them were people standing at many differ- 
ent stages, whom we must to some extent attempt 
to classify. Broadly speaking, the animal kingdom 
of one chain makes the humanity of the next. Our 
present humanity is composed of the successful por- 
tion of the animal kingdom of the moon-chain, plus 
those members of the lunar humanity who failed to 
reach the required level. 

We have already attempted to show into what 

classes men must inevitably distribute themselves at 

the end of evolution upon our own earth-chain. A 

similar arrangement existed at the end of the lunar 



Those who had attained the arhat level were the 
full successes, and they passed off along one or other 
of their seven paths. We do not certainly know that 
these are the same as the seven which open before 
our own adepts, but at least one of them shows de- 
cided resemblance; for just as some of our adepts 
will remain in close touch with the next chain and 


incarnate on it in order to help its inhabitants in 
their evolution, so one of the seven classes of the 
Lords of the Moon stayed to help us in our chain. 
The members of this class are those called in The 
Secret Doctrine the Barhishads. 

Moon-men (first order). Next below this level 
comes a large and diversified group to which we are 
at present giving the title of moon-men (first order), 
though for convenience in following out the several 
destinies of its subdivisions it will probably be found 
necessary presently to assign separate names to them. 
It includes some who, though they had not succeeded 
in reaching the arhat level, were on some of the lower 
steps of the Path; others who had not yet gained that 
Path, though they were approaching it; the failures 
who had dropped out of the lunar humanity (cor- 
responding to the two-fifths of our humanity who 
will drop out in our fifth round) ; and the most ad- 
vanced representatives of the lunar animal kingdom, 
who had succeeded in fully developing the causal 
body. We may later give distinctive names to these 
subdivisions, but for the present we will merely 
number them. 

1. Those who, although they had not attained 
arhatship, were already upon one or other of the vari- 
ous steps of the Path. These also, like the Lords of 
the Moon, have long ere this attained adeptship and 
passed away altogether from the field of our con- 

2. Those of the lunar-chain animal kingdom who 
attained individualisation in the fourth round of the 
moon-chain. All these also have by this time attained 
adeptship. The Masters best known to us in connec- 
tion with Theosophical work belong to this class, and 
in it we may also include the majority of those who 


became arhats under the influence of the preaching 
of the Lord BUDDHA. 

3. Those who attained individualisation in the fifth 
round of the moon-chain. These are now the dis- 
tinguished people of the world — not by any means 
only those whom the world calls distinguished, but 
those who, along one line or another, are considerably 
in advance of their fellows. In our Theosophical 
ranks this means those who are either already on the 
Path or approaching it; in the outer world it means 
men who are either great saints or of specially high 
intellectual or artistic development. 

4. Those who attained individualisation in the 
sixth round of the moon-chain. We have here a fairly 
large class of people, distinctly gentlemen, persons of 
refined feeling, with a high sense of honour, and 
rather above the average in their goodness, intellect, 
or religious feelings. Typical instances of this class 
are our country gentlemen and professional men, our 
clergy or our officers in the army and navy. They 
have strength, but they are by no means free from 
the possibility of using their power wrongly. They 
may not do at all what people around them think 
they ought to do, and therefore they may often not 
be considered respectable; but at least they will do 
nothing low or mean. 

5. Those who attained individualisation in the 
seventh round of the moon-chain. The members of 
this class do not differ greatly from those of the last, 
except that they are somewhat nearer the average 
in goodness or intellectual development or religious 
feeling. They turn their intelligence to rather more 
material ends, as city merchants perhaps. They 
represent the great division which we commonly call 
the upper middle class — gentlemen still, yet with a 


life slightly less elevated than that of the professional 

All these classes which have been mentioned are 
in reality subdivisions of one class — the first order of 
the moon-men — and all the way through they melt 
into one another by almost indistinguishable grada- 
tions, so that the lowest ego of any one of them 
differs but little from the highest ego of the next 
class below. Not only are the lines between them 
thus not clearly marked, but there is even a good 
deal of interpenetration. Egos belonging by right to 
the mercantile class get astray among the professions, 
while those of the higher type find themselves forced 
into business. As they say in India: "In these days 
castes are mixed." 

I have divided them according to the round of the 
lunar chain in which they became human. When 
that happens in any of the earlier rounds it usually 
means that the newly-formed ego proceeded to take 
human incarnations in the next following round. For 
example, those who were individualised in the fourth 
round of the moon-chain came into human incarna- 
tion in the middle of the fifth, and continued to in- 
carnate through the remainder of the fifth, the whole 
of the sixth, and half of the seventh. In the same 
way those individualised in the fifth round took up 
their series of human incarnations in the middle of 
the sixth; and those individualised in the sixth took 
birth in the seventh. Those individualised in the 
seventh round had their first experience of human 
life on the earth-chain, and of course had to be cor- 
respondingly primitive on their arrival here. 

Moon-men (second order) . Below this huge class 
comes the second order of the moon-men, whose 
members, having been individualised at a somewhat 


earlier stage in their animal life, had not yet fully 
developed a causal body, but had already what might 
be described as the skeleton of such a vehicle — a num- 
ber of interlacing streams of force which indicated 
the outline of the ovoid that was yet to come. These 
egos had consequently a somewhat curious appear- 
ance, almost as though they were enclosed in a kind 
of basket-work of the higher mental matter. 

At the present day these are represented by the 
great mass of the bourgeoisie; what is usually called 
the lower middle class, a typical specimen of whom 
would be the small shop-keeper or shop-assistant. 
This class may be described as on the whole well- 
intentioned, but usually narrow, conventional and 
dull. They often make a fetish of what they call 
respectability. A man who is deadly respectable 
usually does nothing whatever that counts, either for 
good or for ill. He may go on at a dead level of 
monotony for many lives, guiding himself always by 
the canon of what he supposes other people will think 
of him. 

We may sometimes see a bourgeois soul even in the 
higher classes, and when such souls attain power in 
any country, it indicates that that country is en- 
gaged in expiating its evil karma. The reign of such 
a king as George III. in England was the karma of 
the murder of king Charles I. and of the other 
horrors of puritanism; and the result was the division 
between England and America, which is only now 
being healed. Since people of this level cannot learn 
the lesson of any particular sub-race as rapidly as 
the higher classes, they usually take many incarna- 
tions in each before passing on to the next. 

Lunar Animal-men. The next group we call the 
lunar animal-men — those egos who had individual- 


ised from the earliest stage of the animal kingdom 
at which individualisation was possible. They con- 
sequently commenced their human life without any- 
thing which could properly be called a causal body, 
but with the monad floating above a personality to 
which it was linked only by certain threads of nir- 
vanic matter. It was they who in the first round 
filled the forms made by the Lords of the Moon, and 
thus did pioneer work for all the kingdoms. 

In considering them we come at last to what are 
called the working-classes, who make the enormous 
majority of humanity in every country. Why they 
alone should receive the honourable title of workers 
is not clear, for they would assuredly rebel with 
promptitude and vigour if they were called upon to 
work as many hours a day as does any successful 
man of the higher classes; but it is usually taken to 
signify those who work with their hands rather 
than with their heads. The particular type with 
which we are dealing at the moment — those who were 
animal-men on the moon — may be said to work with 
both, for they are the skilled workmen of the world 
— belonging to the proletariat, but representing the 
best class of it; men of determination and good 
character, self-respecting and reliable. 

Below that again we have three classes, whose 
members had not yet succeeded in breaking away 
from their group-souls, and were consequently not 
then individualities, though they had every prospect 
of becoming so during our present earth-chain. 
These are still labelled as animals. 

First-class Moon-animals. These attained human- 
ity during the second round of the earth-chain, and 
are at the present day represented by the vast mass 
of unskilled labour, on the whole well-meaning but 


usually careless and improvident. Along with them 
we must group the higher types of savages — men like 
the Zulus and some of the better kinds of American 
Indians and negroes. 

Second-class Moon-animals. This is a lower type 
which gained individuality only in the third round of 
the earth-chain. We see it exemplified now in sav- 
ages of comparatively mild type, in some of the hill- 
tribes of India, and among ourselves in the wastrels, 
the unemployable, the drunkards, and many of the 
slum-dwellers of our great towns. 

Third-class Moon-animals. These are the lowest 
specimens of humanity, but little removed even now 
from the animal kingdom, which they left only during 
the earlier world-periods of this present round, or 
even in the earlier races on this earth. It is repre- 
sented now by the lowest and most brutal of savages, 
and among ourselves by habitual criminals, by bomb- 
throwers and wife- and child-beaters. To this group 
also may be added a few of those who at various 
stages were individualised through hatred or fear. 

Below all these come the three classes which fur- 
nish our present lower kingdoms; the lunar vegeta- 
ble kingdom, which is now our animal; the lunar 
mineral, which is now our vegetable; and the lunar 
elemental kingdoms, the most advanced of which has 
become our mineral kingdom. 

It is to those whom we have called the animal-men 
that the pioneer work on the earth-chain was as- 
signed. Although on the moon they broke away 
from the animal kingdom, and must therefore be 
considered as potentially human, on the first globe of 
the first round of our earth-chain they entered into 
evolution not at the human level but at that of the 
first elemental kingdom. They passed rapidly from 


that into the second and third, and then successively 
through the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms 
until they reached the human. 

In each of these kingdoms they established the 
forms, taking the idea of them from the minds of 
the Lords of the Moon, who, on behalf of the Logos, 
were directing the evolution of that globe. We 
might rather say, perhaps, that these primitive enti- 
ties flowed into the moulds made by the instructors, 
and materialised these moulds for the use of those 
who followed them; for close behind them all the 
time was pressing the next class of monads — the 
highest of those who had not yet in the lunar chain 
broken away from the group-souls. And behind 
them in turn came all the rest. 

When our animal-men had completed this work on 
the first globe in that first round, they moved on to 
the second globe and repeated exactly the same 
process there in denser matter; when that was 
finished they passed to the third, and then to the 
fourth, and so on, running again through the tedious 
evolution from the first elemental kingdom up to the 
human in each of the globes, in order that the forms 
might be duly prepared for those that followed. At 
the end of the first round their task was over, and 
they entered the first globe of the second round at 
the level of primitive humanity, though it was so 
primitive that the advantage is scarcely a percepti- 
ble one. 

In the course of that second round the first class 
of the lunar animals had reached the human level, 
and the same thing happened in the third round to 
the second class of lunar animals; but here a fresh 
complication is introduced by the entry in the middle 
of the third round of the second order of moon-men, 


who had succeeded on the moon-chain in setting up 
a kind of framework for the causal body. Coming 
in at this stage, they soon pushed themselves to the 
front and took the lead. 

Students will remember that the fourth world- 
period of the fourth round differs from all the rest 
in that it is to some extent a recapitulation of all 
the earlier stages. A large number of entities ap- 
pear to have been on the brink of individualisation, 
but could not quite attain it in the ordinary course 
of evolution before that middle point of the fourth 
round when the door was to be shut. A special op- 
portunity was therefore given to them, and the con 7 
ditions of the first, second and third rounds were 
reproduced in miniature in the first, second and 
third root-races of this present world-period. 

If we examine humanity as it appeared on Mars 
in this fourth round, we find that it did not differ 
radically in appearance from that of the present day; 
and this is true of all its root-races from the first to 
the seventh. But if we look at the humanity of the 
first root-race on our own globe in this present 
round, we shall see that its members are utterly un- 
like any kind of men that we know. They are mere 
drifting masses of cloud — just the men of the first 
round over again. In the same way men of our 
second root-race have the curious formless pudding- 
bag appearance which had not until then been seen 
on any world of our chain since the second round. 
In the third root-race came over again all the busi- 
ness of the descent into denser matter and the sepa- 
ration of the sexes which had distinguished the 
middle of the third round. 

All this was done only for the sake of backward 
entities, and it must not be forgotten that only they 


took part in it — which accounts for the sin of the 
mindless, the extreme degradation of the forms, 
and other things. None of the humanity of previous 
rounds (and previous parts of this round) appeared 
during that period at all; all its members came in 
only when the changes in the middle of the third 
root-race had brought matters back to something re- 
sembling the conditions to which they were accus- 
tomed — though even then the physical vehicles were 
of so low a type that some of the arrivals declined to 
occupy them. The whole of the plan of the earlier 
races of this globe was in fact the offering of a final 
opportunity to the laggards, and it was to a large 
extent successful. Many entities who had not been 
fully able to take advantage of these conditions in 
those earlier rounds were able to do something with 
them now, especially with the aid of the tremendous 
impetus given to evolution by the descent of the 
Lords of the Flame from Venus. 

In this fourth round the third class of lunar ani- 
mals attained their individuality, and in the middle 
of the third root-race on this globe the less developed 
of the first order of moon-men began to return to 
incarnation also. From that time until the middle 
of the Atlantean period, and perhaps even somewhat 
beyond it, the monads of that first order came 
rapidly into incarnation, and of course at once took 
up a position in the forefront of evolving humanity. 

It is hoped that this attempt at explanation will 
facilitate the work of those who are studying this 
most interesting subject. There is, it is true, much 
complication in detail, but the broad principles are 
clear, and a student who keeps those in mind will 
soon grasp the scheme as a whole. 


The Earth-Chain 

We have just passed the middle point of the evo* 
lution of our chain of worlds. There are to be seven 
rounds — seven journeys round the seven globes. 
Three of those journeys have been completed, and we 
are now on the fourth (the middle) globe of the 
fourth round. The middle point of our world-period 
ought to be the culmination of the fourth or Atlantean 
root-race, and as we are now at a comparatively early 
period in the history of the fifth root-race it is evi- 
dent that we have only just passed that middle period. 
We do not know, however, whether the middle point 
in evolution corresponds to the middle point in time, 
for we do not know whether all the rounds or all 
the race-periods are of the same length. As I have 
mentioned before, the probabilities seem to be that 
they differ, perhaps even differ considerably; and 
there is reason to hope those lying in front of us 
may be somewhat shorter than those which are be- 
hind us. 

As I have already said, it is useless even to specu- 
late on the actual length in years of these enormous 
periods. Some years ago we took considerable pains 
to verify one of the remote dates given in The Secret 
Doctrine, that of sixteen and a half million years 
since the separation of the sexes in the middle of the 
third root-race. We found that separation to be a 
long process which extended over more than a mil- 
lion years and was taking place at different times in 
different parts of the world. Selecting a time when 
it seemed to have been fairly achieved, we calculated 


from that time to the present by observing certain 
astronomical changes, and our result was within a 
hundred thousand years of Madame Blavatsky's. As 
this was an observation made years after her death, 
and by methods absolutely different from any that 
I have known her to use, I think we may accept it 
as a very good corroboration. 

From what we saw in the course of that enquiry 
we came to the conclusion that all those earlier radi- 
cal changes in the constitution of man extended over 
really enormous periods of time, but that the later 
changes connected with the development of civilisa- 
tions passed much more rapidly, so that these latter 
could be counted by thousands of years, while the 
former required actually millions. Without then 
pledging ourselves to anything in the way of dates 
as regards the earlier part of this stupendous evolu- 
tion, let us glance rapidly over the work done so far 
in this earth-chain. 

Before the solar system was brought into mani- 
festation, the Logos formed the entire scheme of it 
in His mind, and by doing so brought it all simul- 
taneously into existence upon His mental plane. At 
what level that mental plane may be we cannot tell; 
it may be what we call the mental cosmic plane, or 
it may be higher still. To it Madame Blavatsky, so 
far as it concerns our solar system, has given the 
name of "the archetypal world," and the Greeks 
seem to have called it "the intelligible world." All 
that we hear or read as to an instantaneous creation 
of the whole system out of nothing refers to this 
formation of cosmic thought-forms. 

Indeed, from one point of view it seems as though 
we were in truth an expression of the Planetary 
Logos Himself, and as though the evolution were tak- 


ing place within His body, as though the globes were 
centres in that body, or rather, not the globes that 
we see, but the spirit of them — their higher prin- 
ciples. From this point of view globe A would be 
the expression of His brain or mental body, and all 
these forms would exist in His mind. For our men- 
tal plane is not only the third subdivision of the low- 
est cosmic plane; it is also at the same time the low- 
est subdivision of an aspect or manifestation of the 
Logos. We may take it that He manifests Himself 
along seven lines or through seven aspects, and that 
each of these that we call planes is the lowest form 
of one of these aspects, so that the atomic part of 
our mental plane is really the lowest subplane of the 
mental body of the Planetary Logos. 

Before the Manu of a chain or of a round com- 
mences the task appointed for Him, He examines the 
part of that mighty thought-form which refers to 
His work, and brings it down to some level within 
easy reach for constant reference. The same thing 
is done at a somewhat lower level by the Manu of 
each world and of each root-race. Each Manu at 
His own level has before Him the model towards 
which He has to build, and He endeavours to make 
His race or His world, as the case may be, as nearly 
as possible an exact copy of what the Logos intended 
it to be. As He has to build with existing materials 
He can usually approach the required perfection 
only by degrees; and so the earlier efforts at the 
formation of a race, for example, are often only par- 
tially successful. 

In the first round of the earth-chain the Manu in 
charge brought down all the archetypes for the 
whole of the chain. Although many of these will not 
be fully perfected down here until the seventh round, 


the germs of all of them were already there even in 
the first round. For every kingdom in nature He 
selected a certain set of forms, which He wished to 
have vivified during the first round, with the view of 
developing from them at later stages everything 
which the Logos wished the earth-chain to produce. 
The scheme of these forms, materialised down to a 
level where they could use them, was handed over 
to certain of the Lords of the Moon, who were en- 
trusted with the work of setting the activities of 
the first chain in motion. They made these forms in 
each of the seven worlds of that first round, and as 
they made them the animal-men from the moon en- 
tered them, solidified and used them, and from them 
generated others which could be inhabited by the 
moon-animals which occupied the stages below them. 

On each of the planets these lunar animal-men be- 
gan at the lowest level, with the forms necessary for 
the first elemental kingdoms. Then they passed 
through in rapid succession the second and third ele- 
mental kingdoms, and then the mineral, vegetable 
and animal until they reached the human. Having 
done this on each planet they attained humanity for 
the last time on the seventh planet of the lunar chain. 
Since then they have rested from that particular 
kind of labour, for on the second round and after- 
wards they were human from the beginning. 

The conditions during that first round were differ- 
ent from any that have prevailed since. First, the 
life was in all cases a stage higher, for when the 
planets were first brought into existence they were 
at the same level as those of the moon-chain. Globes 
A and G, for example, which are now on the lower 
levels of the mental plane, were then the theatre for 
life belonging to the higher levels. The globes them- 


selves were built even then of the lower mental mat- 
ter, but it was not in a condition to be inhabited by 
beings at its own level — not sufficiently condensed 
nor sufficiently at rest. Globes B and F, though com- 
posed of astral matter, were then utilised only for 
forms of lower mental matter. 

Mars and Mercury were still in a condition largely 
gaseous and etheric, and only astral bodies were em- 
ployed by the entities who lived their lives upon these 
two planets. Our own planet D already contained a 
good deal of solid physical matter, but in a condition 
of heat so intense that there were still lakes and 
seas and even showers of molten metal, so that it 
would have been quite impossible for people with 
bodies in the slightest degree like ours to live there 
at all. The inhabitants, however, used only vehicles 
of etheric matter, and therefore were not at all in- 
commoded by these conditions. In the interval be- 
tween the first and the second round the matter of 
the various globes had time to settle down into a 
more orderly condition, so that each of them could 
be inhabited by entities using vehicles at the level of 
its own matter. 

It is difficult for us to imagine what the evolution 
of that first chain can have been; it is even difficult 
for those of us who have repeatedly watched it to 
give any account of it in words upon the physical 
plane. It is by no means easy to realise even the 
present condition of globe A. We can understand 
that the men of that globe are living in their mental 
bodies, and we can imagine to some extent that the 
group-souls of animals and vegetables may somehow 
or other exist at such a level; but what can a min- 
eral be upon the mental plane? It would correspond 
to our thought of a mineral. Yet perhaps we should 


be wrong to assume that such a thought-form as we 
could make of gold would be the only representative 
of gold on that level; the thought-form which exists 
there is that of the Manu, and is moulded by a power 
altogether beyond comparison with that of our men- 

Every article which exists on the physical plane 
must also exist in a certain sense upon all the planes 
above it, since it is a manifestation of the divine life, 
and must therefore have its connecting link through 
all the planes. It must be on these higher corre- 
spondences of the minerals that certain effects are 
produced which constitute for them the evolution of 
those less material globes; but the idea is not one 
which can readily be explained or made to gear in 
with the conceptions of the physical brain. It is the 
bringing down of the mind-energies flowing from 
the Logos — from His cosmic mental plane to that 
prakritic mental which is our mental plane. It is 
His idea of a mineral, materialised as low down as 
our thought of the etheric body of a mineral. 

When the whole thing was brought down upon globe 
D in the first round the etheric body of a mineral was 
formed, but even then it was not a whole etheric 
body, because at this early stage only some of the sub- 
planes were fully vivified. The very atoms also were 
more sluggish, since only one set of spirilla? was in 
activity. In each round an additional force was 
poured into the atoms, and that brought an addi- 
tional set of spirillae into play, so that now as we are 
in the fourth round we have four sets of spirillae in 
activity; but even now our atom is as nothing in com- 
parison with that which will exist in the seventh 
round, when all the sets of spirillae will be fully work- 
ing, and the entire atom will be what the Logos in- 
tends it to be. 


The man of globe A in the first round can hardly 
be called a man at all; he is a thought. He is what 
will some day be a mind-body — the germ of a mind- 
body, bearing perhaps the same relation to its later 
possibilities as the embryonic form of an infant after 
the first month bears to the fully developed human 
body. He has marvellously little consciousness at this 
early stage. 

As we have said, on the astral globe B in the first 
round everything was brought down to the lower 
mental level and fixed definitely there, with a little